How do you determine if there is a market for your product?

It’s very easy to get carried away when you come up with a fantastic product idea. Often, entrepreneurs will become so consumed by the idea that their product is a must-have, that the necessary market research is neglected.

You might feel like your product is life-changing, but is it life-changing to other people? Will your product capture the mind and wallet of an audience?

Ask the Right Questions

It’s easy to ask your target audience whether they would use your product theoretically, the challenge is in creating a product which they would use over competitors. If your product isn’t filling a gap in the market, you’re going to struggle to persuade people to buy it.

Narrow down your research to more specific questions, find out exactly what your customers are looking for in the product — what can you bring to the table that nobody else has? Try to avoid getting lost in your feedback by isolating the data so that you can understand and make the necessary changes to your product.

Enter Proven Categories

The likelihood is, the smartphone you’re creating isn’t going to threaten Apple or Samsung. Even the most innovative idea risks not making it past the prototype stage in a competitive market. From the audience down to investment opportunities, it’s widely recognised that having an audience in your product category is not synonymous to an audience for your particular product.

However, proven categories with a broader, more general market will offer startups and entrepreneurs a greater chance of success. There is a sweet spot between a market that is highly successful and a market that has no competitors due to a lack of interest from consumers. When you’ve found your proven category, you can then narrow into your niche. The dynamic nature of the tech industry means that the life-cycle of products can be brief.

To avoid superficial trends, your product should be able to answer a problem that no other competitor is doing or filling a gap in the market which has been established through asking the right questions (see above).

Ensure the Market Amplifies Your Business

Your business needs to reflect the market you’re in. If you’ve found your market doesn’t match your business, you’re going to run into problems further down the line as you continue to develop and build your product.

The tech industry is notoriously fast-paced, and your business model and product will need to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the market. Having a team who can turnaround new models, fix bugs, and optimise your product will retain your place in the market as it changes.

As a product manager, I work with startups and entrepreneurs to put these processes in place to optimise the product and business for the market. If you’re interested in finding out what I can do for you and your tech startup, email: alex@thetechgorge.com .

Alex Weekes is a Digital Product Manager, Associate Lecturer, and Startup Consultant working with some of the world's most innovative startups and technologies.

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