Part 1: Find Your Product Idea
Contrary to what you might think, it’s usually not difficult to come up with a great product idea for your new company.
Start by keeping notes about the products and services you’ve encountered in everyday life that really stink.
- Are you frustrated because your car mechanic ripped you off? Then maybe the Internet needs a better way to find honest repair shops.
- Is it impossible to find parts for your vintage wristwatch? Maybe you should start an online parts store for antique watch enthusiasts.
Online Success Story
Over the past few years I’ve started two online businesses. The first is a legitimate success.
The successful business was prompted by my urgent need for a particular kind of DIY home repair tool. It seemed impossible to find the tool I needed in local stores.
I did find the item for sale on a few websites, but they all gave too little information about how to select and use their tools. And when I purchased those products I received loose parts in a brown box without any instructions. There was no after-sales service and no warranty.
Because I was a frustrated customer it was easy to write down a simple plan to design and build more reliable products, sell them on a website that shows lots of information, and give the kind of service that customers would expect.
Until that time I’d never run a business. I started out building the products on nights and weekends, in a room over our garage. Then I launched a primitive-looking but informative website that used simple PayPal “Buy Now” buttons to receive payment.
Today the business is thriving. Our customer service, manufacturing and shipping have moved to a new facility with a staff of talented people. We have a much more sophisticated eCommerce website. And I genuinely enjoy running the company.
Unfortunately that experience didn’t teach me all that I needed to know about what makes a good product idea.