“Which idea should we move forward with?”
Working at a large consumer products company, this is a question I frequently hear at the beginning of the year when each brand team is trying to figure out their innovation for the year. After working on innovations across multiple categories, I’ve learned that there are two key questions to answer that can help provide clarity on how to filter through all the ideas and focus on one to move forward with.
Question #1: Who will buy my idea?
The first question to answer is who is the target consumer for your business idea. A target consumer is a specific group of people that are likely to buy your product. It’s important to define this group by demographic factors (e.g. age, gender, marital status, presence of kids, etc.) as well as understand who they are attitudinally. For instance, what motivates them? What are their interests? What do they value? Once this is defined, you’ll start getting a sense of the size of your market and if it’s large enough to pursue.
Additionally, after answering who your target consumer is, it’s also important to answer if this target is able to pay for your idea. For example, let’s say your idea is a line of luxury jewelry products and you’re thinking about targeting females between the ages of 18-24. The target is defined, but realistically are most teenagers able to pay for luxury jewelry products? In this case, the size of the market might not be large enough to pursue, and it’s probably better seeing if there is a bigger opportunity focusing on another target consumer group or choosing a different idea.
Question #2: Does my idea solve a “pain point” my target consumer has?
For any business idea, it only makes sense to move forward with it if there is demand for the product or service being offered. Specifically, there will be demand if what’s being offered solves for some kind of “pain point,” or a problem, that the consumer has. Pain points exist across all categories, where consumers may have pain points that have never been solved, or they have pain points with current products. This leaves opportunities for completely new-to-market innovations, or improvements on current products or services.
For example, a consumer encounters many problems when calling a taxi. It can be hard flagging down an available taxi, knowing the exact address of the destination, or it might be inconvenient at the end of the trip fumbling to get cash out to pay your driver when you’re in a rush. These problems became opportunities for companies like Uber and Lyft to solve, resulting in many consumers now choosing them as their ride hailing service over traditional taxis.
So, when deciding which idea to focus on, look for the one that solves a pain point for your target consumer. This idea has the most potential for demand, as it is providing a solution for your target consumer. In doing so, your consumers will want to pay for the value your idea is giving them.
Starting a business involves time, energy, and investment. If you have multiple ideas, ask yourself these two questions. By being clear about who your target consumer is and what problem your idea is solving for them from the very beginning, you’ll be able to narrow down which is the best, most viable idea to focus on.