It's common for people to work on a new product in a bubble for an extended period of time when they are developing an online business. I'm definitely no exception. I attempted to start three different businesses over the last 4 years in a bubble. It took these three painful "failures" to learn the important lesson I am going to share with you today.
While it's important that you do work you are inspired by, it's also just as important that this work solves your audience's problems or fills their desires. Success comes at the intersection of your inspiration and your customer's needs. It's nearly impossible to find this intersection without engaging your audience (potential customers) during the creation process. It's similar to searching for a needle in a haystack. Your customer is just as important to your business as you are, so it only makes sense that you include them in the creation process.
It's also likely, if you are just starting a new business, that you have no audience. It's the chicken or the egg dilema. You need an audience to engage while you create a product, and you need a product to offer in order to attract your audience. The way you tackle this problem is unique to your product or service, but here's a few suggestions to get you thinking:
1. Promise your potential client a discount on your product or service when it is launched in exchange for subscribing to your email list. Then use your email list to engage your potential future customers while you create your product.
2. Provide low cost non-scalable service to your client in exchange for their feedback. An example of this would be to help coach a client one on one through Skype if you were planning on creating a video course. While you will be exchanging your time for a small amount of money, you'll also learn exactly what your clients actually want BEFORE creating your video course.
3. If you're selling product, produce just a few even if the production costs are high. Then attempt to sell them at a discount, even if it's at a loss. Make sure you setup the understanding that you expect customer feedback in exchage for the discounted price.
Building your new business with feedback from an audience will greatly accelerate the learning curve and increase your chances for success. At first it may seem like a lot of "extra" work that will cost you more time and money, but that is only becuase you have a fantasy about being able to successfuly solve your client's problem without first asking your customer about your proposed solution.
Have you tried to create a new product in a bubble? Please share your experience in the comments below.
My name is Eric Young. I started this blog to share my ideas around helping people create success online businesses.