Do Customers Value Your Uniqueness?

One of the quickest ways to go out of business is to market a product or service that hardly anyone wants, needs, or understands. Find out if there is a real need for your idea. Who and how many people will pay for it, and how much will they pay?

Ideally, you should always research and test your idea against the realities of the marketplace. Many business owners have tested their ideas by working as employees in their industry for a number of years and have seen firsthand what works and what doesn't. But even well-seasoned industry experts can benefit from analyzing the market environment in a way that will help to evaluate the potential of an idea.

If you are just starting out and are not sure of what business to look into, look for anomalies in the marketplace that you can capitalize on (preferably something that you know about and are interested in). Webster's Dictionary defines anomaly as, "departure from the...usual method; abnormality," in other words, something out of the ordinary.

In marketing terms, an "anomaly" is an unsatisfied need that you can make a profit from.



Before Federal Express came into being, a great number of business people wished there were an affordable way to send important packages and documents overnight. However, the tremendous startup costs (over $500 million) and logistics problems (coordinating a national fleet of trucks and planes to start business on the first day) made it seem an impossible dream until Federal Express showed the world how to do it.

Now there are over a dozen different international companies that specialize in sending packages and documents anywhere overnight! Once the United States market had matured at around $14 billion per year, aggressive international service and marketing has grown the express "overnight" package delivery service to a $30 billion business today. The "anomaly" was the great unsatisfied need for overnight package delivery that everyone thought was impossible to do.

For more about developing new business ideas, see our discussion of choosing a type of business.