Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Market Research Mistakes to Avoid for Product Ideas and Inventions

imageThis article was written by John Rau, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor

When conducting market research for a product or new idea, here are some common mistakes that you should try to avoid (compiled from a variety of sources including www.allbusiness.com):

· Not knowing what you are looking for –you need to formulate a “game plan” in terms of what you think you need to know and then layout the specific steps you need to follow to identify the sources of this data/information and where and how to find it

· Poor choice of reference materials and/or using limited sets of data, or for that matter using outdated information—here’s where librarians can help you to at least get “pointed in the right direction” and to make sure you get the most currently available information

· Not thoroughly researching the competition—just because you didn’t find any information about potential competitors, don’t jump to the conclusion that there isn’t any competition, which is rarely the case

· Relying solely on the guidance provided by unscrupulous invention marketing companies—there are many documented horror stories where inventors have been mislead by such companies only to spend money and get nothing in return

· Failing to find out that you’re in the wrong “ocean” and not correcting for that, that is, failing to “paddle fast” and change course

· Not performing a thorough and complete analysis/ interpretation of the information that you obtained in conducting your market research—that is, having gathered the “raw” information is only the first step, making sense out of it is what really counts

· Not taking advantage of “free” services and advice through credible organizations such as the Small Business Administration and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) that provides free counseling services (over 340 chapters in the United States)

· Not contacting local inventor clubs such as attending their seminars and members only type meetings to get guidance and advice—here is your best opportunity to talk to those people who “have been there” and “done that”, some with success and some with failures, all a “learning experience”

· Probably the most important mistake of all is to ignore the market research results—“don’t toss the results aside just because they did not support the answers you wanted to see”

The bottom line is that you have to do “your homework” in order to have any chance of success. What you can expect from market research includes an assessment of the potential market for your idea, identification of potential competition and competing products or businesses, perhaps some insight into barriers regarding introduction of your idea into the marketplace, and you may even find additional markets you never considered before. You must also be prepared that the market research results may “NOT PROVIDE THE ANSWER YOU WERE LOOKING FOR”.