How to Choose the Right Product to Sell

sept-21-2016_my-first-product-blog-imageChoosing the type of product to sell is the hardest decision you will make on your road to product entrepreneurship. The two most important things that I can tell you about choosing a product is to pick a product type that you know and love. If you pick a product that you know and like, it will be easier to provide great customer service with you are faced with questions about your product.

“Consider your job and hobbies when searching for a product or product idea.”

Pick a Product that You Know

When you start to develop your first product it is advisable to choose something with which you have familiarity or something that solves a problem that you have in your own life. If you are a florist but decide to open a fine-dining hamburger restaurant, you may have trouble because you do not know enough about hamburgers or fine-dining restaurants. You may love to eat hamburgers but that does not mean that you know enough to be successful. Conversely, if you develop a new, partitioned flower vase that helps homeowners create beautiful arrangements with their garden flowers you may enjoy enormous success.

When you are trying to decide on a product business, make a list of all of the possibilities based on the things that you know how to do. Many of you reading this may be thinking, “I hate my job and I want as far away from it as possible!” I will tell you a secret. I thought that too. I worked for an environmental consulting firm and my boss was very difficult. I decided to open an online flower business because I liked flowers and it had nothing to do with geology. The problem was that while I love flowers, I know nothing about them! How I thought I could run a business selling flower arrangements and educate people on the different types of flowers when all I really knew was what roses and tulips looked like, I will never know! My biggest problem with the flower business was not that I did not like the flowers; it was that the learning curve for me to grasp everything that I would need to know about flowers to successfully run the business was too steep. I like flowers but not THAT much. What a nightmare!

But, I was so annoyed with my then current supervisor that I let that frustration push me in a bad direction. Then one day, my husband asked me “What is it you like about geology? There must be something or you would not have earned a Master’s degree.” He was right.  I had both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in geology so obviously it appealed to me. I found myself telling him that I like the rocks and minerals themselves. That was the rocks and minerals and how they formed that I liked and that is where my final business idea came from.

To find your best product idea, take a notebook and make a table like the one below. It can be as long as you like. Make a list of all of the possible products that you could develop for your business. Start your list with things you know and add products that could solve a particular problem that you have in your life. If you already have a clear direction for your product then you are in a great position. If you do not, the sky is the limit so starting making that list.

Brainstorm Product Ideas

Use this chart to list your areas of expertise and the different products that you could develop. If you already have one product in mind, think of complementary products that you can use to produce a full line of goods for sale.

sept-21-2016-chart_2

My chosen product is:

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About Tracy_Barnhart

I was born and raised in Princeton, West Virginia. Both of my parents were scientists and educators. My mother was a middle school biology teacher and my father taught chemistry at a nearby university. I remember doing a 6th grade science project on plate tectonics but I never knew that I was headed toward geology. I attended Furman University, planning to be a business major. Since it’s a liberal arts school the students must fulfill a series of science requirements so I chose two geology classes my freshman year. It was during those classes that I realized that geology was fun, but microeconimics made me want to scratch my eyes until they bleed. After Furman, I received a Master’s degree in Geology at the University of South Carolina where I specialized in groundwater computer modeling. I have been a professional geologist for almost 20 years now. Yikes! It feels weird to put that in writing. I work with environmental companies to assist with the assessment of soil and groundwater contamination. If a property has contamination, I work with engineers to design and implement a remediation system. Several years ago, I took my love of rocks and minerals and turned it into a small business. Our line of rocks, minerals and fossils keep me busy when I’m not assessment contaminated properties. You can find out more about my business at www.MiniMeGeology.com.
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