By: Stan Washington
Date: April 27, 2015
A business owner asked me if I knew if her business was viable. This is one many questions people ask when they go into business. My answer is "Look before you leap." Gut and intuition are the norms for many entrepreneurs. They sometimes guess their way to a place that is not so good. Before you spend a huge amount look into the viability of your product or service.
Do Some Home Grown Research
Mom, dad, siblings and friends are not the place to start when you desire to get an opinion about your business. Chances are they cannot offer the unbiased opinion about your product or service that you seek. You can ask their opinion but only to receive anecdotal feedback which is valuable, but can be biased. Crawl out of a shell and meet people. Find strangers who are willing to give an unbiased opinion.
Look for Statistics
Check out business and government databases. Get your head out of the sand of building your product or service for one minute and research your customer. Check out http://fedstats.sites.usa.gov/data-releases/ which has various databases of information to comb through and help you figure out the size of your audience. Be careful, data can be old (for example census information is not timely).
Prototype if you can
Create your product or service and have it tested by a company who specializes in prototyping. If you cannot afford a company like this then create it on a small scale and be meticulous about collecting metrics about your product or service. This will help you in the long run.