What To Do When Your Business Idea Is A Bust

your business idea

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought. ~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi  (Tweet this)

Market research is an important part of business development because it lets us know whether or not your business idea is viable. Now, sometimes research shows that we really shouldn’t move forward with a concept or idea. In fact, sometimes research shows that our original concept is a complete bust.

That’s okay! That’s exactly why we do market research. Imagine if you wouldn’t have taken the time to conduct some research and moved forward with a bad idea. That would have been a lot of time and money wasted on something that wouldn’t have been profitable. That’s far worse than having to do a course correction or dropping a project so you don’t waste time on your business idea. Time, truly, is the most valuable asset you have.

To get started, create an online survey in Google Docs, Survey Monkey or even Typeform to concept test your business idea.

Do you need to scrap the idea or improve it?

Before moving forward with explaining what you should do when your research shows that you don’t have a viable idea, it’s important to make a distinction between an idea that needs to be scrapped and an idea that needs to be improved. The reason this is important is because sometimes “a bust” isn’t really a bust.

For example, a project that would need to get scrapped is one in which you discovered there’s no viable market, no one wants to pay for it and your target audience showed no interest in needing or wanting it. That’s just something you shouldn’t even waste your time on.

However, that’s entirely different than when your business idea simply needs to be improved. Meaning with a few tweaks here and there you can salvage the idea, test it again and move forward. Sometimes ideas and concepts need to go through many revisions before there’s a final product.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can focus on what can be done when research shows that our idea may not be as good as it stands right now.

Examine the reasons why your business idea is a bust

One of the reasons market research is so important is because by asking our target audience to give feedback they may be able to see something that we as business owners cannot. Sometimes we’re so attached to an idea that we forget to take ourselves out of the equation and look at it as objectively as possible. And truth be told, you probably can’t ever be truly objective because your business idea is like your baby.

By gathering feedback, and more specifically looking at why your idea is a bust, you’ll get an outsider’s perspective on why it needs improvement. After all, you’re not the one who’s going to buy the product or service—they are.

Make a list of all the reasons why your idea may not work (and use your audience’s words as much as possible if you can). This will give you a much better understanding of not just what you may need to improve, but also what’s going on in the heads of your target audience.

Here are some sample reasons—which you might receive from your audience suggesting your business idea is weak/bad.

  • Many of them indicate they will not pay for it. A few here and there is normal, but if the responses in this regard are overwhelming then it’s something to look at.
  • They don’t really understand what it is or what it’s for. This is a common issue and one of the main reasons to conduct this kind of research. If your market doesn’t understand your business idea or what you are presenting then you will have a hard time selling it.
  • Deliverability issues and tech problems.

Notice the patterns

When you’re looking at feedback and searching for why your business idea or concept is a bust, pay special attention to feedback that is repeated. In doing so you may notice some patterns that show you exactly where you need to improve your service or product. For example, perhaps your test market kept running into technical problems or had customer services issues. These are two areas where unfortunately, many service providers, fail to make the best effort. It also gives you a clear map of what you can do to improve your offering.

Fix the holes in your idea

Sometimes your business idea being a bust is simply a matter of fixing the holes. For instance, does something about your idea not make sense? Is it not fitting into the overall picture of your brand? Was delivery and customer service a problem? Once you’ve identified the holes, it’s time to fix them.

If deliverability was an issue for a digital product, you would look into why that is and how you can improve it. If customer service was an issue you would find ways to make it better.

Notice what did work

In addition to looking at what didn’t work, you’ll also want to pay special attention to what did work. For example, maybe the content was a little off but you noticed that your market loves videos. That’s very valuable information right there! With this feedback you’ll know that your market is looking for videos in future products and services.

The opposite can also apply. Maybe the content is great and doesn’t need to be fixed, but the way in which it is delivered was an issue. In doing this you may also come up with a completely different offering that works out for the better.

For example, a couple of years ago I set out to do market research with the intention of creating a group-coaching course. However the more interviews I conducted, the more people kept mentioning how they would love a book or a manual. This completely changed my business plan and we were able to launch an Amazon bestselling book which has led to success in every aspect of the business.

Final thoughts

Just because your market research shows that your business idea may not be a good one, doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Remember, the reason you conduct market research is to avoid costly mistakes later. By using these tips you’ll be able to use the feedback you received effectively so that you can improve your business.

Research is four things: brains with which to think, eyes with which to see, machines with which to measure and, fourth, money. ~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (Tweet this)


About the Author

Amanda Abella is an online business coach, speaker and author of the Amazon bestselling book - Make Money Your Honey. She is committed to helping individuals have a better relationship with work and money through entrepreneurship, online marketing and money mindset. Her work has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more.

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