The Quick-Start Guide to Finding Your Next Profitable Product Idea

 ·  05 Oct  ·  16 Comments
Confused, young businessman looking at chalk drawn arrows on a concrete wall

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Whether you’re a new entrepreneur looking for your first product idea, or a veteran business owner wanting to expand, it can be difficult to find the perfect idea for your next product.

In fact, it can seem impossible.

It begins to seem as if every idea you come up with has been done before, you worry that you’ll spend time creating a product that flops, and you begin to wonder whether the few unique ideas you have thought of haven’t been done for a reason.

You’re acutely aware that every day that ticks by without a new product is another day of less impact, fewer people helped, and ultimately lost profit.

Luckily, there are a handful of ways to not only uncover the perfect product idea to help your market, but also ensure that the product will be profitable, too.

Let Your Target Market Tell You What They Want

One of the biggest risks of launching a new product is the unknown:

  • What if nobody buys it?
  • What if you gave in to confirmation bias and the product is a dud?
  • What if there’s no market for it?

Luckily, there’s a way to get around this:

Letting your target market tell you exactly what they want and creating it. This goes back to the age-old business cornerstone of finding a need and filling it.

It sounds easier said than done, right?

But luckily, there are a few methods of eavesdropping on the conversations your target market is having so they will inadvertently tell you what they want.

And don’t worry – it’s completely ethical:

  1. Eavesdrop on Amazon: Amazon isn’t just the world’s largest retailer. It’s also one of the best market research platforms available to you. Head over to Amazon and look up a handful of popular books in your industry. Start digging through the reviews, focusing on the 3-star reviews. Pay special attention to detailed written reviews; often the reviewer will mention what they would have liked to see in the book, or what was missing from it. Is there an opportunity to offer a product to fill those gaps? For example, James Clear shared with The Fizzle Show podcast that he has used Amazon book reviews to find gaps in the market for his own business.
  2. Research on Reddit: Reddit coins itself the “front page of the internet”, and it seems pretty close, with over 36 million users and almost 10,000 subreddits. These impressive numbers mean that your target market is having conversations about their needs in your industry on that platform. Spend some time combing through targeted subreddits and paying special attention the types of questions people ask, the struggles they discuss and the information they need to come up with ideas to solve those struggles. Shopify lists Reddit as a great place to find product ideas for eCommerce entrepreneurs.
  3. Listen in on Quora: The most successful products solve a problem, and as the Buffer blog demonstrates, Quora is a social network that seems to be made for free market research. On Quora, users ask questions about specific topics which are answered by the community. It’s like a high-quality Yahoo! Answers. Questions can give you a great insight into what type of problems your target market is experiencing so you can create a product to solve them.

You’ve probably heard the Henry Ford quote: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Listening in on your target market’s conversations removes this barrier of directly asking your existing audience what they want.

Tune In to Your Competitors

Many entrepreneurs believe that competition is negative. We’ve all been warned about entering competitive markets before, but the reality is that competition can be very positive, especially when you’re looking for your next product idea.

Tune into your competitors: what are they doing well? What is their audience responding to?

Your competitors are taking care of testing the market for you.

I’m not suggesting that you rip their product off – far from it – but if a competitor is doing well with a specific product, chances are you could, too.

  • Can you improve on their product?
  • Can you pivot it and offer a product based on your business’ USP?
  • Can you fill a gap that their product doesn’t cover?

For example, this is how Samsung introduced their smart phone line to the market. Apple (Samsung’s competitor) created the iPhone, and Samsung put their own unique spin on smart phones. Some might say that they filled gaps that the iPhone left open.

In the information product industry, let’s say you have a business to teach people how to learn Spanish. A business in the same niche has a successful online course teaching through immersion. You might take a different stance and offer an online course to teach Spanish through memory improvement methods if you think those are more effective.

The basis is the same: “teach Spanish through an online course”, but the approach is different.

How can you use the hard work of your competitors to offer your own products that are almost guaranteed to be successful?

Tap Into the Information At Your Fingertips

You already have the answer to your next profitable product…

A product that your market will love. One they’ll be begging to buy. One that they need or want.

In fact, you may have created part of it without knowing.

What do I mean?

Well, the answer is in your most popular content.

If you engage in content marketing, take a look at your website stats to find out what content has been popular on your site. What has the most social shares? The most engagement? The most traffic?

Use those popular pieces of content as a launching point to create your next profitable product idea.

Bryan Harris from VideoFruit used this method to find his first product idea, and it earned him $10,000 in 24 hours.

It’s already proven that your market is interested in the topic since they’ve responded so well to the content about it. Listen to the demand and create a product in line with that popular content.

Solve One Person’s Problem

One huge barrier for entrepreneurs when we’re trying to think of our next product idea is that we get lost in the bigger picture.

We’re thinking of our market as a whole. Everybody seems so different. How are we supposed to create something that will be helpful to them?

We tend to forget that our market or audience is made up of many individuals. And when we boil it down and picture one of those individuals – just one member of our market or our target audience – it becomes far easier to focus on their pain points.

Picture one person (hopefully somebody you’re familiar with) in your audience or market. What are they struggling with? What is their biggest pain point? How can you solve it?

Drilling it down to solve just one person’s problem can provide a lot of clarity.

The best part is that most of the people who make up your target market experience the same (or similar) struggles, pain points, and challenges as that one person. By helping the one person, your product can help the majority of your market.

Uncover Your Next Product Idea Today

It can be daunting.

Coming up with a product idea. Trying to solve a problem or ease a pain. Creating something and putting it out into the world.

But you can take the guesswork out of brainstorming your next product idea by doing the right research, seeing what your competitors do right, analyzing popular content and focusing on solving just one person’s problem.

And once you start digging into these methods, your product idea is just around the corner.

Nathan Chan
nathan@foundrmag.com

Nathan Chan is the Publisher and Editor of Foundr magazine. He is an avid table tennis player and a lover of everything entrepreneurship.

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  • Verushka Bhagaloo

    I like this. I always conduct a survey after my coaching that provides insight into what the people would have preferred me to include or what stood out, and then I pivot. Thankfully I can adapt more.

    I want to write a book, so researching existing coaches books on Amazon is a great idea to find out what’s missing.

    Thanks. Regards, Verushka

  • Navin

    Thank you for sharing what you know. It always is a great blessing to read something that will make everyone grow and not fall. Hope to read more things on this blog that will help me get inspired to do more in life 🙂

  • Mojo Jojo

    Excellent article Nathan. Very inspiring indeed.

    • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

      Thank you @disqus_sBQqM2L8re:disqus

  • http://www.crowdhatcher.com Joe Olejnik

    Thanks Nathan…the Amazon / Quora tip is gold (I’ll be using that one). How about sending out a simple survey to your networks? These provide direct feedback from those that already know you and may also help start the ‘pre-sale’ funnel for the product you have in mind.

    • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

      BOOM! You know where it’s at @JoeOlejnik:disqus 🙂

      Surveys are massive, and we use them often!

  • Mag L

    Thanks for your super input… I am, though, not sure whether I can use this one… I am decoupage artist and designer, and if there are any competitors, I do not know them yet… I have tried to find them, but without success. This is both fortunate and a bit less fortunate… Since consumers are more or less habit-people and they like what others buy, my biggest task is to convince them not only to love what I do (…which I know they do) but also to deeply desire to own my exclusive, individual, different art and design..

  • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

    Glad you enjoyed it @verushkabhagaloo:disqus – Surveys are so key hey!

  • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

    You’re most welcome Navin 🙂

    We’re just getting warmed up!

  • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

    You’re welcome 🙂 It can be a little tricky if you do not know your competitors! Perhaps consider thinking about where your starving crowd hangs? Speak to potential prospective customers and find out what would make your product/service unique and ask them to buy on the spot. Feedback is critical!

  • http://niklasgoeke.com/ Niklas Göke

    I thought I’d mention Quora or Amazon here as an addendum, before I even opened the post, because so many people don’t think of these. But ta-da, you covered them all. Ha, great work Nathan!

    Nice hint to Videofruit as well, I’m one of Bryan’s customers, brilliant man.

    Also, since Noah Kagan is a big fan of going back to one person and just starting by helping them individually, one tip of his once you start scaling up: even if you get bigger, keep one goal in mind:

    https://youtu.be/3P1glyHRecQ?t=3m45s

    Great post Nathan, good work!

  • http://7StreamsBlog.com Ben

    Once you make a deliberate effort to recognize pain points and needs, ideas start forming. Of course there is a bit of a process to move from idea to successful execution but it starts with being open minded. Good post.

    • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

      Spot on @southern_water:disqus – Once you start looking, you realize there are too many opportunities!

  • Corey Hinde

    Nathan I’m really curious about how you got going after say 3 months of effort and not much traction (just basing that on *most* businesses) – ever tempted to throw it in?

    • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

      Great question @coreyhinde:disqus – What kept me going is even when we didn’t have that many magazine subscribers for Foundr in the beginning, the fact that people were paying for a monthly subscription (even though it was $2.99 every month), drove me to keep our promise of shipping a monthly issue. As time went on we built momentum. 32 months later here we are 🙂

      Hope this helps answer your question!

  • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

    Great mentions and ideas @ngoeke:disqus – Love it!