The One Mistake Most First Time Entrepreneurs Make

by / ⠀Startup Advice / March 22, 2011
business advice

Photo credit: Krishna De

Are you creating something people will buy?

It’s a simple question, but I see so many first time entrepreneurs fail because they create something they THINK people want.

Finding out if a new product will sell requires market research, which can cost way more than a first time entrepreneur can afford.

Instead, here’s a simple, three step process that costs nothing, yet surprisingly is way more effective.

1. Find your market, then create your product

Most entrepreneurs do this backwards. They come up with a killer product, and then try and and someone to buy it. This rarely works. Instead, and your market (preferably one you are familiar with), and a need that isn’t being met or a problem that isn’t being solved, and create a product that satisfies that need or solve that problem.

For instance, let’s say you frequent laundromats. You see older women making two or three trips with laundry baskets. So you create a cart that can carry the baskets from their car to the laundromat so they only make one trip. And the cart is light enough to carry and its in their car.

Do you see how much simpler it is to create a product this way?

2. Real World Market Research

Now it’s time to see if your product idea has market potential. It’s time to ask people in your determined market to BUY your product.

Yes, I know, you haven’t created your product yet. But you need to ask people to buy your product to see if it’s viable. Most first time entrepreneurs will ask people, “Would you want this product?” The problem with this is best explained with an example.

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Someone comes up to me and asks me if I’d like this new DSLR camera, with all these awesome features. I tell him of course I’d want something like that. But if he asks me if I’d buy that camera for $500, my answer will suddenly change. I don’t need to buy a new camera. I’d like a new camera, but I don’t want to buy one.

So, it’s time to use a test I heard of once before: the Trunk Test. You ask people in your market do they want your product. If they say yes, tell them you have a couple out in your car trunk. Would they like to buy one now?

You’re beginning to really test your product idea now.

3. Actually Sell Some

So people want to buy your product. Congratulations! You are almost there.

There’s one more step, and this is probably the hardest: actually sell your product. No matter how much market research, testing, and experimentation you do, you will never know if your product will actually sell until you sell it.

When starting, don’t make any large orders from suppliers. Keep orders small at first. Your per unit cost will probably be high, and you may forgo a profit on your first few sales, but this is better than placing large orders and no one buying it.

But, because you’ve followed the tips I’ve laid out above, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to sell your product very easily.

Good luck with your endeavors and let me know if I can help you in any way.

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If you’d like to read more from Brandon Yanofsky, check out his blog on small business marketing. He also has a bunch of free marketing resources.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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