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Is your business idea a lemon?

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Posted By Christine Foley
Your business idea

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. ‘

Rob Siltanen

“Choose something you’re passionate about,” the experts tell us, ” Take something that you already do as a hobby and turn it into a business. “

But what if your hobby is making origami owls?

Didn’t know people liked making origami owls? Google it: the results may surprise you: About 21,600,000 results. Didn’t know that many people were interested in origami owls, did you? Well, neither did I, until I Googled it. However, is there really money to be made in the origami owl market?

Surprise number two: Yes, maybe….

When researching this topic, I came across a fascinating article by Heather Levin entitled ‘6 Weird But Successful Small Business Ideas.’ Top of the list is the Bed Bug Barrier, which made its inventor millions of dollars. Also featured on this intriguing list is Hangover Helpers, The Smashing Place, The Pet Loo and my favourite: Rent-a Chicken; where you can rent out some chickens to see whether you really are cut out for chicken keeping. Believe it or not, there’s even an Australian equivalent: Rent-a-Chook.

So, if Rent-a-Chook can make money, why not your Origami Owl making enterprise?

Your friends and family are probably going to laugh at your idea. Gently or bluntly they’ll tell you, that you are crazy and should get/ keep a real job. You’ve got to expect that when you’re business idea is, well, kind of ‘out there.’ And you know, just like I do, that there is a good chance that they are right: your unorthodox business idea is, more than likely, a lemon.

However, there is also a chance that it is a goldmine.

It might be small chance, but, on the other hand, your business idea could make you millions- Bed Bug Barriers did, after all. Imagine the looks that Tony Abrams, the inventor, must have got when he first broached the idea.

But before you start imagining yourself as the next Tony Abrams, it’s vital that you thoroughly interrogate your business idea. Do you really have a genuine chance of making this business work? After all, your future happiness and financial success rests on making this enterprise work for you and your family, so that’s a big risk.

Work out the рriсе will thе mаrkеt pay for уоur product оr service

You must bear in mind here thаt whаt you believe уоur рrоduсt оr ѕеrviсе iѕ wоrth mау be ԛuitе diffеrеnt tо whаt the mаrkеt will рау. It mау ѕurрriѕе уоu thаt in mоѕt instances, уоu will undersell уоurѕеlf. Promoted wеll, and tо thе right сliеnt оr customer, уоu may оftеn find that your mаrkеt рriсе will be highеr thаn whаt уоu first anticipate. Pаrtiсulаrlу if уоu lеаrn tо position yourself as thе еxреrt, аnd understand hоw tо рrоvidе grеаt vаluе.

Think about Tony with his Bed Bug Barriers

Boy, I tell you, I’d cheerfully pay for a bed bug barrier to stop the little critters climbing up the bed legs into bed with me if I was staying in some bed-bug-ridden dive on hosteling adventure, wouldn’t you?

Checking out the real viability of your business idea is going to take some real research on your part, as this is going to give you the best possible chance of making your business a goer, or abandon the idea before you’ve spent too much time and money.


‘Proper research is one of the most powerful tools that you, as an entrepreneur, have at your disposal. It can spell the difference between creating a business which has real potential and one which is destined to go nowhere. ‘ Says the Entrepreneur Handbook in the article ‘How to Research Your Business Idea.’ published by the Editorial Team on 8th Sept 2019.

How to Research Your Business Idea

In order to find out whether your business idea has a market of customers who are likely to want to buy from you, you need to discover how large that market is. Put the name of your idea into Google and search it- this will give you some idea of just how many people are searching for your product online. Spend some time entering different versions of your idea in order to see what people are searching for.

Check out search terms related to your idea and see what comes up

This can be very revealing: you may find that people are actually looking for something similar to your business idea, but not actually what you are planning to offer. Ask yourself the question why that is-maybe what they are missing is the magic key ingredient that you can offer that they haven’t even thought of- Bingo! Or maybe it’s because they tried it, but no one bought it that way. It’s your job to do the detective work and find out.

Free Market Research

Generally your online research leads you to competitors’ websites: the people who are already selling your business idea.How very dare they???! However, their sites are a fantastic source of free information for you as you research your business idea, before you’ve even had to spend a penny on product development.

Competitors’ Websites

You can see how the products are presented and priced and you can read customer reviews. Enter the URLs of a variety of your competitors’ sites into SEMRUSH or Ubersuggest and find out which ones are getting the most traffic. Then you need to figure out why they are the most successful at selling the product so that you can model their approach. By checking out traffic statistics using the tools I’ve suggested it’s pretty easy to identify whether or not there is a healthy market for your business idea.

How to Ethically Steal your Competitors’ Customers

It’s also a great idea to buy a product from them to get an inside view of their sales chain right from placing the order on their website to the delivery to your door or inbox. Their customer service and support can be tested out while you learn how you could process your product from the point of sale to your customers. Buying from your competitors also gives a great opportunity to identify where in the sales process you could do something that would be better. That means that the customers wanting to purchase will come to your site instead of your competitors’ to buy.

Look for reviews and Facebook groups

Many products have social media sites associated with them- get yourself signed up as a member and see what’s going down! Check out reviews; contact people who have bought the product and really do your best to sniff out what people genuinely make of it. Study any complaints that are being made about any aspects of the product you’re considering bringing to the market:. You need to figure out how to ensure that your version won’t have these flaws, and will therefore get better reviews and more sales.

Talk to People

Accurate identification of your target audience is crucial. Will those people who you think would buy into your business idea really do so? It’s easy to make assumptions about what you think people want, but you might not be quite right: you might be nearly there, or you might have a near miss, which could cost you dearly. Therefore putting in the time to work out who actually buys products in your business area will make all the difference to the potential success of your enterprise.

You may need to change your targeting

This research will give you a vital opportunity to change your targeting in such a way that it can make a difference between producing a product which goes viral and a product which misses the mark entirely. You are building the solid foundations for your business idea- flaky and half-baked ideas more than likely will crumble once the pressure of having to make sales really begins, so it’s worth putting the hours in now.

Hоw dо you initаllу рlаn оn providing your рrоduсt оr ѕеrviсе?

Are you gоing tо dо оnе-tо-оnе sales оnlу, оr аrе thеrе wауѕ in which уоu саn рrоgrеѕѕ to dеlivеring уоur product оr service оn a оnе tо many bаѕiѕ? Getting a few sales in the early days is great, but does your business idea have the ability to scale? After all, what if your early marketing is massively successful and you suddenly receive an order for 1000 origami owls just before Christmas? Have you planned for such an eventuality?


Whilst planning making your business idea become a reality, it’s really important that, in the storm of doubt and derision which you may well be enduring from all sides, that you do plan carefully for the possibility that you haven’t actually come up with a lemon.In fact, there is a possibility that you have thought of the next great business idea to hit the market.

Your planning needs to go much deeper beyond'” Ha- in your face, you lot!!” to think through what would need to be in place should your business take off . Will you need to take on employees? Move into bigger premises? Source more funding?

You may need to outsource tasks to external agencies or freelancers, such as those to found on Fiverr or Upwork. Although a successful and growing business is obviously the aim right from the outset, would your idea really scale successfully?

What are the соѕtѕ аѕѕосiаtеd with рrоviding your product оr service?

Hit the spreadsheets hard before you start shelling out real money on your business idea. However you plan to deliver your product or service, there are going to be expenses. Cost out everything and set your potential costs against your possible profits to find out whether your business is genuinely a goer.

How mаnу items of уоur рrоduсt оr hоurѕ оf service will you rеаliѕtiсаllу need to ѕеll in order to generate enough income to cover your expenses, including your own salary and be in profit?

Here’s the crunch. And, of course, you need to bear in mind that in the early few months your profit margins are likely to be tight. It takes time to prove yourself and become established in the market. You need to be super-realistic here,.Remember that, somehow or other, everything always costs much more than you thought it would:: some unexpected expense always pops up out of nowhere. Your potential profits need to be robust enough to take some hefty knocks.

Research Complete?

Obviously, it’s impossible to predict exactly whether or not your business idea is going to be a great success. However, if when you’ve finished researching, number-crunching and filling in fields on all your spreadsheets the results strongly suggest that you may very well have come up with a great idea, then why not go for it?

Writing on the Real Business site, Shane Schutte ‘s article: ‘Ten Downright Crazy Business Ideas That Worked’. Number two on the list- ‘Doggles’- which are goggles for dogs- rakes in $5000 000 per year for its inventor, Jill Doyle.

Making goggles for dogs must have sounded like a real lemon when Jill came up with the idea, but no one can argue that it wasn’t extremely profitable.

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