When you’re building out your ideas, it can be tempting to rely on Google for your research, however this is far from ideal if you actually want to be sure you are on the right track. Although you should always have a second set of objective eyes assist you with the validation of your business, the tips in this guide will help you build the foundation of analysis to help ensure you are intelligently coding rather than simply flinging ideas against the wall.
As discussed in Sitepoint, launching a product requires a bit of effort, however it can be difficult to determine what you should and shouldn’t pursue.
Fortunately by following the tips below, you can greatly improve the odds of success when deciding what you should and shouldn’t pursue.
Initial Considerations before Coding
Before building out any business idea, you need to consider the following questions:
- What value does this offering add to the end user?
- How have others attempted this idea before, why did those concepts succeed or fail?
- In the unlikely event others haven’t attempted the idea, why hasn’t this been attempted before?
- Who and what are potential competitors to this concept down the road?
- What killer feature does my idea have which is difficult for my competition to emulate?
The previously mentioned questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to conducting market research for your business idea, however if you can’t answer those fundamental questions early on, that’s a sign you should rethink whether your business is worth pursuing.
Where to get Rock Solid Intelligence
Postmortems and Case Studies – Avoiding the Mistakes of Others
In any area of entrepreneurship, failure tends to be viewed as a rite of passage to running a successful business. While many lessons can only be learned firsthand, by examining case studies and postmortems (analysis of why a projects fails), you can avoid reinventing the wheel and hitting the same roadblocks others faced. On the other hand, case studies provide a wealth of information on techniques which can lead you to success.
While Google is a vital tool to finding this information, you need to make sure that the sites you read are credible sources of information. Before believing everything in the reports, make sure you consider the following:
- Is the author of this report an objective source? Articles written by founders, investors and ex-employees might provide deep insights, however since these people are emotionally attached to their ideas, they will have a bias in how they explain the events.
- Avoid survivorship bias: You should never focus only on successful startups. Success doesn’t equal perfection. Be sure to examine all sides of the coin in your analysis.
- Don’t take information at face value: Just because a paper is published in a trade journal or scholarly paper doesn’t mean that the information is 100% accurate
- Before using any information, you need to evaluate the credibility of sources to make sure that what you put in writing is correct.
Using Niche Databases
If you are planning to build out a technology startup, there are a couple of places you should first visit to get intelligence on the competition:
- CrunchBase: One of the leading startup databases on the web, CrunchBase was created by venture capitalist Mike Arrington in 2007 and today it remains a go to resource for anyone looking for information on technology startups. Funding amounts, investors, corporate history and much more are just a few of the things which can be found on the site.
- VB Profiles: Another leading technology startup database, this one created by VentureBeat. While it is similar to CrunchBase, VB Profiles is different in that it allows users to create lists of companies to tack along with giving users the ability to take their data on virtually any device.
- CB Insights: Although not a free database, CB Insights is a trusted source of information by numerous large funds. The biggest value of CB Insights is that it provides users with analysis and in-depth data around venture capital trends so you can get a better feel for what investors want when investing in a startup.
How to Get Honest Feedback
Although it can be tempting to do competitive research on your own, it’s important to realize your limitations as an entrepreneur. In particular, one of the biggest limitations is that you’ll overlook flaws in your concept which are obvious to others. Anyone who has seen Sharktank has seen what happens when an entrepreneur chances an idea they think is great, only to have it fail down the road.
The key to getting honest feedback is to run your ideas by trusted outsiders and see what they say about your offering. Before running your idea by outsiders, make sure that the only people you trust for feedback are ones who will be fully candid with their insights. This means going direct to your intended customers and asking them about the pain points they commonly face in their job. If you find that your target audience doesn’t need your product, then build something else. Otherwise take the feedback they provide and use it to develop something worth using!
When it comes to going beyond Google, what are some tips and tricks you have? Leave your tips in the comments!
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