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NOTABLE! "I don't know what product to sell" How You Choose A Product-Based Business

biophase

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One question that I always get is "I don't know what product to sell." My answer now is always, that's not the right question. Thinking of the product first is backwards.

The question is, "who will benefit from my business?", "why do I want to start that business?" and "what business do I want to start?"

When you ask "who will benefit from my business", your answer should not be, "I would because I make money, then I get to buy stuff". The answer should be that your customer benefits. But is the customer truly benefiting? Think about this. Let's say you are selling a coffee mug. You put your brand name ABC on it. You want to sell it for $10, like everyone else's.

So now your customer can buy your $10 mug or a competitor's $10 mug. How do they benefit when they buy yours? Well if the competitor is ROGUE and your brand is ABC, we could say that their customer is benefiting because a ROGUE mug means something. It could signal that this customer is into Crossfit. Maybe he uses ROGUE equipment and likes the brand. However, if you just made up a brand name, then what does having a mug that says ABC mean to the customer. You don't build a brand by making up a name and a logo.

Let's compare your $10 ABC mug to another mug Super Happy Dragon Company, that is selling for $9. Now your customer is getting less benefit buying yours vs. the Super Happy Dragon Company. The Super Happy Dragon Company customer's benefit is that their customers will save $1 by purchasing their mug.

Now, let's say you improve the mug so that coffee stays warmer for longer in your special mug. Well this changes the whole "who will benefit from my business" question doesn't it. Now it's clear to you AND your customer that purchasing ABC mug will give them hotter coffee for longer. This is clearly a benefit.

On the other hand, instead of improving the mug, you go the branding route. You sell a regular coffee mug, but instead of ABC, you put a picture of Taylor Swift on it (just assume here that she's ok with it). Now it's clear again to you AND your customer that purchasing ABC mug let's our customer signal that he/she is a Taylor Swift fan. This is clearly a benefit.

When you ask "why do I want to start that business", your answer should not be, "to make money so that I can buy stuff". Maybe your answer is "to make money so that I can buy my mom a nice house", and while that is a noble reason, it's still not a real reason to start a business. Imagine if Nike's was, NIKE, buy our shoes so that I can buy my mom a mansion. Nobody would be NIKEs, because nobody cares about the CEO's mom's house.

Most people want freedom from a job, to be financial free, etc... These are all great internal reasons but you need an external reason. People won't buy from you because you want freedom. They buy from you when you solve an external problem. This is mainly the pain point question that MJ talks about.

I'll give you one of my super nichey pain points. When I'm riding my mountain bike deep in the mountains, I carry a firearm and bear spray. The problem is that neither of these can be deployed until I stop my bike and use both hands. So my "why do I want to start that business" answer is, because I need a way to easily access my bear spray with one hand and while riding.

As you can see, with that question answered, the answer to the next question "what business do I want to start?" is pretty simple. I want to start a business that makes easy access bear spray packs.

Ok, let's jump back to the "who will benefit from my business" question with regards to my easy access bear spray pack business now. They are thousands of biking backpacks out there. But none have a side opening or a method to hook bear spray to where you can reach around and grab it. Imagine the marketing, "With my new easy access bear spray pack, you can take your bear spray out in 2 seconds vs. 15". Isn't it pretty clear who benefits now? That could be the difference of life and death on the trail. Easy marketing right?

When you go through these steps, in the end it should be pretty clear how you are going to market your product. Using the example above, imagine the keywords you would use in a PPC campaign, imagine which influencers or youtuber you would pitch it to. It's pretty clear right? It markets itself. Can you already think of the videos that you can make on social? Content is easy when your product has a purpose.

The problem I see with most people trying to start a product business is that they never think, "how am I going to market this?" Amazon or Shopify is NOT an answer.

If you have read my bees thread you can see this process in action. To summarize it here, I'm trying to figure out a way to help increase the bee population. I haven't figure it out yet. But you will see that I'm going backwards. I haven't even thought about a product yet.

So let's run through the questions.

Who will benefit from my business?

In this case it is the bees that would benefit. Humans would indirectly benefit. Because I haven't figured it out yet on that thread, let's just assume that I decide that donating 50% proceeds to the USA beekeeping foundation(USABKF, I just made that up) is the best course of action.

Why do I want to start that business?

Because I care about the environment, nature and animals.

What business do I want to start?

So here's the incredible part! Does the product matter? The purpose of my business is to donate 50% to the USABKF. So now I need to figure out a product. It should be high volume because my goal is to donate as much as possible. So now I pick something. (As I look around my desk) Sunglasses! Bee Sunglasses! Now I source high quality sunglasses just like everyone else trying to get into the sunglasses market. But guess what? I already know how I'm going to market it and I'm sure you do too.
 

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Why do I suddenly want to google if “bear spray” actually exists.. huh.

ETA: This is actually a thing!!! Lmfao.. they sell it at Walmart. #yourewelcome
 
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Sanj Modha

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Its easy to find products. Here's my checklist:

1 - What's trending? Check Google trends, keywords and find who's running ads for it.
2 - Can I sell it on Instagram (my fave platform!)? Must be a hot item for women aged 18-35.
3 - Is there lifetime value? Consumable items are great for this.
4 - Can I ship it worldwide?

Start here then move on.
 

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One question that I always get is "I don't know what product to sell." My answer now is always, that's not the right question. Thinking of the product first is backwards.

The question is, "who will benefit from my business?", "why do I want to start that business?" and "what business do I want to start?"

When you ask "who will benefit from my business", your answer should not be, "I would because I make money, then I get to buy stuff". The answer should be that your customer benefits. But is the customer truly benefiting? Think about this. Let's say you are selling a coffee mug. You put your brand name ABC on it. You want to sell it for $10, like everyone else's.

So now your customer can buy your $10 mug or a competitor's $10 mug. How do they benefit when they buy yours? Well if the competitor is ROGUE and your brand is ABC, we could say that their customer is benefiting because a ROGUE mug means something. It could signal that this customer is into Crossfit. Maybe he uses ROGUE equipment and likes the brand. However, if you just made up a brand name, then what does having a mug that says ABC mean to the customer. You don't build a brand by making up a name and a logo.

Let's compare your $10 ABC mug to another mug Super Happy Dragon Company, that is selling for $9. Now your customer is getting less benefit buying yours vs. the Super Happy Dragon Company. The Super Happy Dragon Company customer's benefit is that their customers will save $1 by purchasing their mug.

Now, let's say you improve the mug so that coffee stays warmer for longer in your special mug. Well this changes the whole "who will benefit from my business" question doesn't it. Now it's clear to you AND your customer that purchasing ABC mug will give them hotter coffee for longer. This is clearly a benefit.

On the other hand, instead of improving the mug, you go the branding route. You sell a regular coffee mug, but instead of ABC, you put a picture of Taylor Swift on it (just assume here that she's ok with it). Now it's clear again to you AND your customer that purchasing ABC mug let's our customer signal that he/she is a Taylor Swift fan. This is clearly a benefit.

When you ask "why do I want to start that business", your answer should not be, "to make money so that I can buy stuff". Maybe your answer is "to make money so that I can buy my mom a nice house", and while that is a noble reason, it's still not a real reason to start a business. Imagine if Nike's was, NIKE, buy our shoes so that I can buy my mom a mansion. Nobody would be NIKEs, because nobody cares about the CEO's mom's house.

Most people want freedom from a job, to be financial free, etc... These are all great internal reasons but you need an external reason. People won't buy from you because you want freedom. They buy from you when you solve an external problem. This is mainly the pain point question that MJ talks about.

I'll give you one of my super nichey pain points. When I'm riding my mountain bike deep in the mountains, I carry a firearm and bear spray. The problem is that neither of these can be deployed until I stop my bike and use both hands. So my "why do I want to start that business" answer is, because I need a way to easily access my bear spray with one hand and while riding.

As you can see, with that question answered, the answer to the next question "what business do I want to start?" is pretty simple. I want to start a business that makes easy access bear spray packs.

Ok, let's jump back to the "who will benefit from my business" question with regards to my easy access bear spray pack business now. They are thousands of biking backpacks out there. But none have a side opening or a method to hook bear spray to where you can reach around and grab it. Imagine the marketing, "With my new easy access bear spray pack, you can take your bear spray out in 2 seconds vs. 15". Isn't it pretty clear who benefits now? That could be the difference of life and death on the trail. Easy marketing right?

When you go through these steps, in the end it should be pretty clear how you are going to market your product. Using the example above, imagine the keywords you would use in a PPC campaign, imagine which influencers or youtuber you would pitch it to. It's pretty clear right? It markets itself. Can you already think of the videos that you can make on social? Content is easy when your product has a purpose.

The problem I see with most people trying to start a product business is that they never think, "how am I going to market this?" Amazon or Shopify is NOT an answer.

If you have read my bees thread you can see this process in action. To summarize it here, I'm trying to figure out a way to help increase the bee population. I haven't figure it out yet. But you will see that I'm going backwards. I haven't even thought about a product yet.

So let's run through the questions.

Who will benefit from my business?

In this case it is the bees that would benefit. Humans would indirectly benefit. Because I haven't figured it out yet on that thread, let's just assume that I decide that donating 50% proceeds to the USA beekeeping foundation(USABKF, I just made that up) is the best course of action.

Why do I want to start that business?

Because I care about the environment, nature and animals.

What business do I want to start?

So here's the incredible part! Does the product matter? The purpose of my business is to donate 50% to the USABKF. So now I need to figure out a product. It should be high volume because my goal is to donate as much as possible. So now I pick something. (As I look around my desk) Sunglasses! Bee Sunglasses! Now I source high quality sunglasses just like everyone else trying to get into the sunglasses market. But guess what? I already know how I'm going to market it and I'm sure you do too.
I absolutely love your answer @biophase. I would also maybe add that the book by simon sinek "start with why" is an excellent reference on why you should start with the "Why" question. Simon Sinek - Start with why
 
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biophase

biophase

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Its easy to find products. Here's my checklist:

1 - What's trending? Check Google trends, keywords and find who's running ads for it.
2 - Can I sell it on Instagram (my fave platform!)? Must be a hot item for women aged 18-35.
3 - Is there lifetime value? Consumable items are great for this.
4 - Can I ship it worldwide?

Start here then move on.
This is actually the exact opposite way that I work. I look for stuff that is hard to do. It weeds out a lot of potential competition.

I’m curious if your method creates a company that you can sell later? I mean if it’s trending then it usually means that sales will decline in the long term.
 
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biophase

biophase

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I absolutely love your answer @biophase. I would also maybe add that the book by simon sinek "start with why" is an excellent reference on why you should start with the "Why" question. Simon Sinek - Start with why
I know his teaching. I ask myself the WHY question all the time. It provides me a lot of guidance and direction.
 
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biophase

biophase

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That’s funny that you linked this article. At first I thought you were linking to something Jaime wrote but then I see it’s an article by @snowbank.

I had in depth conversations with Billy the past week while he was in AZ. We talked a lot about what business to start as we are both looking to do something new. In the end we kept circling back every idea to the WHY.
 

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From Michael Masterson's book Ready, Fire, Aim:

1. Find out what products are currently hot in the market.
2. Determine if your product idea fits that trend.
3. If it does, you're set go. If it doesn't, follow steps 4 and 5
4. Come up with me-too versions of several hot products.
5. Improve them in some by adding features or benefits the original lacks.

This is a good starting point to sort through possible product ideas if you got no idea in what direction you want to head (i recently found two products in the climbing/bouldering niche doing this).
If you found a product, you sure want to ask yourself:
Who will benefit from this, if i'd start such a business?
Would I even want to start such a business? What's the long term prospect?
Or the general Why > How > What question.

Why would I want to start such a business?
How would I do it? How would I provide (more) benefits for the customers?
What would I sell? (which might or might not be answered by the product search done beforehand)

If these steps and the final result sound congruent to you, it might prove as sufficient sign to go down that route.
 

Sanj Modha

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This is actually the exact opposite way that I work. I look for stuff that is hard to do. It weeds out a lot of potential competition.

I’m curious if your method creates a company that you can sell later? I mean if it’s trending then it usually means that sales will decline in the long term.
I don't do dropshipping now but I did to start with.

I have a branded store in a particular niche so I look for specific items and I don't look for hard stuff to sell - there's no reason to reinvent the wheel.

See what's selling and if you have a brand then - its not hard to replicate it at all.
 

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Thanks, @biophase; so much value in this post.

I feel like a lot of people (in this thread) are missing the forest for the trees; they’re focused on a quick sale instead of a long term business.

You gave me (us) insight into the mind of a business titan in this forum, so thank you for that.

**I wish we still had rep** Haha
 

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This is a great distillation. Deceptively simple.

Like, if you can answer those 3 questions clearly, the path forward reveals itself. Then you don't need to keep chasing me-too ideas. And you'll build a moat around your business from me-too clones.

Also, for bear-spray deployment: what about bike-helmet bear spray with a trigger on your bike handlebars? That way, the aim takes care of itself--cuz you'll damn sure be looking straight at that bear--and you can shoot the bear spray without taking your hands off the bike or even stopping the bike.
 

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Why do I suddenly want to google if “bear spray” actually exists.. huh.

ETA: This is actually a thing!!! Lmfao.. they sell it at Walmart. #yourewelcome
I have a can in my room, on my nightstand. I bought 4 cans at Yellowstone National Park, never used it (thank goodness) and now I use it for personal protection (also never used, thank goodness). I gave a can to each of my kids, and they don't know where they are. GRRR. So now I get to spend another $50 to buy more bear spray that I hope to never use.
 

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Also, for bear-spray deployment: what about bike-helmet bear spray with a trigger on your bike handlebars? That way, the aim takes care of itself--cuz you'll damn sure be looking straight at that bear--and you can shoot the bear spray without taking your hands off the bike or even stopping the bike.
I would probably debilitate myself with that - aerosols might get in the user's eyes. Maybe same idea, but installed instead on the handlebars.
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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Maybe, @biophase, combine the bears and bees ideas. Give some proceeds from the bear repellent product to bees.

I'll have to read your bee thread. Thanks for linking.
 

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One question that I always get is "I don't know what product to sell." My answer now is always, that's not the right question. Thinking of the product first is backwards.

The question is, "who will benefit from my business?", "why do I want to start that business?" and "what business do I want to start?"

When you ask "who will benefit from my business", your answer should not be, "I would because I make money, then I get to buy stuff". The answer should be that your customer benefits. But is the customer truly benefiting? Think about this. Let's say you are selling a coffee mug. You put your brand name ABC on it. You want to sell it for $10, like everyone else's.

So now your customer can buy your $10 mug or a competitor's $10 mug. How do they benefit when they buy yours? Well if the competitor is ROGUE and your brand is ABC, we could say that their customer is benefiting because a ROGUE mug means something. It could signal that this customer is into Crossfit. Maybe he uses ROGUE equipment and likes the brand. However, if you just made up a brand name, then what does having a mug that says ABC mean to the customer. You don't build a brand by making up a name and a logo.

Let's compare your $10 ABC mug to another mug Super Happy Dragon Company, that is selling for $9. Now your customer is getting less benefit buying yours vs. the Super Happy Dragon Company. The Super Happy Dragon Company customer's benefit is that their customers will save $1 by purchasing their mug.

Now, let's say you improve the mug so that coffee stays warmer for longer in your special mug. Well this changes the whole "who will benefit from my business" question doesn't it. Now it's clear to you AND your customer that purchasing ABC mug will give them hotter coffee for longer. This is clearly a benefit.

On the other hand, instead of improving the mug, you go the branding route. You sell a regular coffee mug, but instead of ABC, you put a picture of Taylor Swift on it (just assume here that she's ok with it). Now it's clear again to you AND your customer that purchasing ABC mug let's our customer signal that he/she is a Taylor Swift fan. This is clearly a benefit.

When you ask "why do I want to start that business", your answer should not be, "to make money so that I can buy stuff". Maybe your answer is "to make money so that I can buy my mom a nice house", and while that is a noble reason, it's still not a real reason to start a business. Imagine if Nike's was, NIKE, buy our shoes so that I can buy my mom a mansion. Nobody would be NIKEs, because nobody cares about the CEO's mom's house.

Most people want freedom from a job, to be financial free, etc... These are all great internal reasons but you need an external reason. People won't buy from you because you want freedom. They buy from you when you solve an external problem. This is mainly the pain point question that MJ talks about.

I'll give you one of my super nichey pain points. When I'm riding my mountain bike deep in the mountains, I carry a firearm and bear spray. The problem is that neither of these can be deployed until I stop my bike and use both hands. So my "why do I want to start that business" answer is, because I need a way to easily access my bear spray with one hand and while riding.

As you can see, with that question answered, the answer to the next question "what business do I want to start?" is pretty simple. I want to start a business that makes easy access bear spray packs.

Ok, let's jump back to the "who will benefit from my business" question with regards to my easy access bear spray pack business now. They are thousands of biking backpacks out there. But none have a side opening or a method to hook bear spray to where you can reach around and grab it. Imagine the marketing, "With my new easy access bear spray pack, you can take your bear spray out in 2 seconds vs. 15". Isn't it pretty clear who benefits now? That could be the difference of life and death on the trail. Easy marketing right?

When you go through these steps, in the end it should be pretty clear how you are going to market your product. Using the example above, imagine the keywords you would use in a PPC campaign, imagine which influencers or youtuber you would pitch it to. It's pretty clear right? It markets itself. Can you already think of the videos that you can make on social? Content is easy when your product has a purpose.

The problem I see with most people trying to start a product business is that they never think, "how am I going to market this?" Amazon or Shopify is NOT an answer.

If you have read my bees thread you can see this process in action. To summarize it here, I'm trying to figure out a way to help increase the bee population. I haven't figure it out yet. But you will see that I'm going backwards. I haven't even thought about a product yet.

So let's run through the questions.

Who will benefit from my business?

In this case it is the bees that would benefit. Humans would indirectly benefit. Because I haven't figured it out yet on that thread, let's just assume that I decide that donating 50% proceeds to the USA beekeeping foundation(USABKF, I just made that up) is the best course of action.

Why do I want to start that business?

Because I care about the environment, nature and animals.

What business do I want to start?

So here's the incredible part! Does the product matter? The purpose of my business is to donate 50% to the USABKF. So now I need to figure out a product. It should be high volume because my goal is to donate as much as possible. So now I pick something. (As I look around my desk) Sunglasses! Bee Sunglasses! Now I source high quality sunglasses just like everyone else trying to get into the sunglasses market. But guess what? I already know how I'm going to market it and I'm sure you do too.
iam literally at this point in my life and iam really stuck! i smashed the idea with the "Sandbags" weeks ago! Because i wasnt sure i wouldnt deliver anything better besides a better sales funnel...

How you and Bill come up with your ideas? are those everyday Problems, are you surfing some e-commerce sites or is it more spontaneous? How you guys get that feeling where to look?

Can i do this approach on Amazon? maybe i think wrong for just looking into online businesses, but i want it really badly so i can leave my current country any day! Hmm sounds a bit selfish
 

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Or maybe deploy the bear spray with a Spider-Man style hand/wrist shooter.
Now you're talking. That might even get my son to quit pestering me to buy a firearm for bear protection. Not that I'm opposed to it, I just have a personal philosophy of not spending money unless I'm making money, and I am trying to get on fastlane track right now, and I don't want to dip into my investment funds to buy a firearm.
 

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I have a small niche business - but the market is necessarily tiny, limited, and diminishing. Yay for progress, but at some point I'll have to lay the business down. But the business MODEL, I can use to my advantage.

For years, I was all about solving my own problems - only to find that someone with deeper pockets had already come out with a superior product. Also, I'm a terrible consumer. So using myself as a source is a terrible idea.

I could follow the money! What are the Kardashians up to? What's hot in the news? Can I sell t-shirts that keep up with the trends? Well, no, actually, because I'm not fast enough, nor do I really care about people who care about keeping up.

Which leads to now. I know the business model that works for me, and I know I can use CENTS eventually. Who are the people I like to work with? Who are the people I get on best with as customers? If it's all about the relationship, I may as well choose customers I like.

That proved to be a 5 minute doodle of a Venn diagram on a whiteboard. There's 3 market channels that fell out of that. And hey look, there's a list of top XYZ industry leaders on Wikipedia. And now I'm connected to 4 of them on LinkedIn and Facebook. THIS TOOK ME AN HOUR.

And because I already know what type of people these are, based on their chosen field, it's much easier for me to call them or email them and say 'I don't know much about XYZ, but you do. If I were to use this business model, what products would work best? What delivery system works best for the really rural areas? (this is important - I know one guy who lives on "Beeson Lane, 2 miles from telephone pole, yellow house" - USPS does NOT deliver there).

I'll contact these people, and ask what they need and want, until I have some very basic idea. Then I'll see who's already supplying them, and come up with a creative way to improve the product or the experience.

Then I can mock up an order page and get pre-orders, find suppliers, and sell some stuff. Rinse and repeat until I can quit the day job and expand the business.

Gosh, it sounds easy when I put it like that!
 

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Who will benefit from my business?

In this case it is the bees that would benefit. Humans would indirectly benefit. Because I haven't figured it out yet on that thread, let's just assume that I decide that donating 50% proceeds to the USA beekeeping foundation(USABKF, I just made that up) is the best course of action.

Why do I want to start that business?

Because I care about the environment, nature and animals.

What business do I want to start?

So here's the incredible part! Does the product matter? The purpose of my business is to donate 50% to the USABKF. So now I need to figure out a product. It should be high volume because my goal is to donate as much as possible. So now I pick something. (As I look around my desk) Sunglasses! Bee Sunglasses! Now I source high quality sunglasses just like everyone else trying to get into the sunglasses market. But guess what? I already know how I'm going to market it and I'm sure you do too.
Bio I'm in a similar situation as yours, and I'm stuck after answering this questions... let me explain

Who will benefit from my business?
I want to help the homeless population in Chicago by donating proceeds to shelters focusing on personal hygiene needs, ultimately what I want is to offer a place where they can shower and change clothes but that's far along the line so let's stop at "donating proceeds"

Why do I want to start that business?

Because I care about helping people back on their feet, and it must be difficult to not feel helpless when your clothes suck and you are (and feel) so dirty people can't share a train car with you. Homeless women have to deal with periods, on top of that.

What business do I want to start?

I've decided on private labeling a line of hygiene products, that can be sold individually or in like a gift-basket like Bath and Body works stuff.

Here's where I'm stuck:

This is actually the exact opposite way that I work. I look for stuff that is hard to do. It weeds out a lot of potential competition.
So then the product does matter, to some extent. Sunglasses aren't anything unique YET you skew the value because of your business proposition (It's like TOMS. Those slip-ons have been worn by the gauchos since colony times, but it's the buy one we give one that makes people drop $30+ in those things...then they also became trendy, not sure how I just saw them more and more).

Am I on the right train of thought here? Because I keep wondering what's the Entry difficulty on private labeling lotions/shampoo etc. when your value proposition is something like ours. If you indeed were to do something simple as sunglasses, would it really work?

I mean I've seen ads for bath bombs shaped like kitties that help pandas on Instagram, but I have no idea whether they are selling stuff or not.

@MJ DeMarco I'd love your feedback on this too, the ratemybusinessidea tool gives me like a C+ to A- depending on (because I don't know what to choose) how I rate Entry, Need, Size of market.
 

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carlissa91

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One question that I always get is "I don't know what product to sell." My answer now is always, that's not the right question. Thinking of the product first is backwards.

The question is, "who will benefit from my business?", "why do I want to start that business?" and "what business do I want to start?"

When you ask "who will benefit from my business", your answer should not be, "I would because I make money, then I get to buy stuff". The answer should be that your customer benefits. But is the customer truly benefiting? Think about this. Let's say you are selling a coffee mug. You put your brand name ABC on it. You want to sell it for $10, like everyone else's.

So now your customer can buy your $10 mug or a competitor's $10 mug. How do they benefit when they buy yours? Well if the competitor is ROGUE and your brand is ABC, we could say that their customer is benefiting because a ROGUE mug means something. It could signal that this customer is into Crossfit. Maybe he uses ROGUE equipment and likes the brand. However, if you just made up a brand name, then what does having a mug that says ABC mean to the customer. You don't build a brand by making up a name and a logo.

Let's compare your $10 ABC mug to another mug Super Happy Dragon Company, that is selling for $9. Now your customer is getting less benefit buying yours vs. the Super Happy Dragon Company. The Super Happy Dragon Company customer's benefit is that their customers will save $1 by purchasing their mug.

Now, let's say you improve the mug so that coffee stays warmer for longer in your special mug. Well this changes the whole "who will benefit from my business" question doesn't it. Now it's clear to you AND your customer that purchasing ABC mug will give them hotter coffee for longer. This is clearly a benefit.

On the other hand, instead of improving the mug, you go the branding route. You sell a regular coffee mug, but instead of ABC, you put a picture of Taylor Swift on it (just assume here that she's ok with it). Now it's clear again to you AND your customer that purchasing ABC mug let's our customer signal that he/she is a Taylor Swift fan. This is clearly a benefit.

When you ask "why do I want to start that business", your answer should not be, "to make money so that I can buy stuff". Maybe your answer is "to make money so that I can buy my mom a nice house", and while that is a noble reason, it's still not a real reason to start a business. Imagine if Nike's was, NIKE, buy our shoes so that I can buy my mom a mansion. Nobody would be NIKEs, because nobody cares about the CEO's mom's house.

Most people want freedom from a job, to be financial free, etc... These are all great internal reasons but you need an external reason. People won't buy from you because you want freedom. They buy from you when you solve an external problem. This is mainly the pain point question that MJ talks about.

I'll give you one of my super nichey pain points. When I'm riding my mountain bike deep in the mountains, I carry a firearm and bear spray. The problem is that neither of these can be deployed until I stop my bike and use both hands. So my "why do I want to start that business" answer is, because I need a way to easily access my bear spray with one hand and while riding.

As you can see, with that question answered, the answer to the next question "what business do I want to start?" is pretty simple. I want to start a business that makes easy access bear spray packs.

Ok, let's jump back to the "who will benefit from my business" question with regards to my easy access bear spray pack business now. They are thousands of biking backpacks out there. But none have a side opening or a method to hook bear spray to where you can reach around and grab it. Imagine the marketing, "With my new easy access bear spray pack, you can take your bear spray out in 2 seconds vs. 15". Isn't it pretty clear who benefits now? That could be the difference of life and death on the trail. Easy marketing right?

When you go through these steps, in the end it should be pretty clear how you are going to market your product. Using the example above, imagine the keywords you would use in a PPC campaign, imagine which influencers or youtuber you would pitch it to. It's pretty clear right? It markets itself. Can you already think of the videos that you can make on social? Content is easy when your product has a purpose.

The problem I see with most people trying to start a product business is that they never think, "how am I going to market this?" Amazon or Shopify is NOT an answer.

If you have read my bees thread you can see this process in action. To summarize it here, I'm trying to figure out a way to help increase the bee population. I haven't figure it out yet. But you will see that I'm going backwards. I haven't even thought about a product yet.

So let's run through the questions.

Who will benefit from my business?

In this case it is the bees that would benefit. Humans would indirectly benefit. Because I haven't figured it out yet on that thread, let's just assume that I decide that donating 50% proceeds to the USA beekeeping foundation(USABKF, I just made that up) is the best course of action.

Why do I want to start that business?

Because I care about the environment, nature and animals.

What business do I want to start?

So here's the incredible part! Does the product matter? The purpose of my business is to donate 50% to the USABKF. So now I need to figure out a product. It should be high volume because my goal is to donate as much as possible. So now I pick something. (As I look around my desk) Sunglasses! Bee Sunglasses! Now I source high quality sunglasses just like everyone else trying to get into the sunglasses market. But guess what? I already know how I'm going to market it and I'm sure you do too.
Thank you for taking the time to create such an insightful post. This will go over a lot of people’s heads because of the simplicity yet difficulty of getting past the ego to see the gold in between the lines. Shifting my perspective from focusing solely on my personal desires for financial freedom has helped me stay focused on creating solutions that help solve needs.

The customer is the one who's buying the solution so that is where the money to live freely comes from. So, it only makes sense to work on understanding the pain points of the market to create something around those needs. I am working on creating a company and being in the game for the long haul. I see that requires patience, creativity and calculated risk taking to build something substantial.

Not everyone is willing to go the route of the least trodden path because of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe but long-term success comes to those who stand out from the crowd and create somethings others grow to love and benefit from.
 

GIlman

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I know it was an illustrative example. But looks like someone saw that itch and figured out ONE way to solve it. The example of easy access backpack obviously provides similar value, but expands the use case, I.e. could be useful for more than biking. Great tread and example thought process @biophase.
 

MoreValue

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This is a great video example of someone launching a new product and crushing it.

View: https://youtu.be/LvDYgSWT8F0
I watched this guy waayyy back when I was deep into fitness. His skew is like 90% marketing, 10% remarkability. Better to max product remarkability than being forced to compensate with marketing in my opinion of course.

Once you stop the marketing on a product like this, it dies. These packaged goods are all the same: shampoo, food, shaving cream. It is the packaging that sells which falls under marketing bit.
 

MoreValue

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This is actually the exact opposite way that I work. I look for stuff that is hard to do. It weeds out a lot of potential competition.

I’m curious if your method creates a company that you can sell later? I mean if it’s trending then it usually means that sales will decline in the long term.
I do the same thing now. I probably choose things that are too hard actually. Always long now.
 
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biophase

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How you and Bill come up with your ideas? are those everyday Problems, are you surfing some e-commerce sites or is it more spontaneous? How you guys get that feeling where to look?

Can i do this approach on Amazon? maybe i think wrong for just looking into online businesses, but i want it really badly so i can leave my current country any day! Hmm sounds a bit selfish
In my opinion it comes down to real life experiences. You can't find business ideas sitting on your couch. How would you ever know that bear spray biking would be an issue if you never mountain biked? We come up with ideas just by living life.

If you searched Amazon and saw a mountain biking bear spray backpack and thought, wow there's only one seller, I'm going to get into this niche, how would you compete? You'd have no idea how the product is used. Are you going to buy a mountain bike, some bear spray and go for rides to test it out?

When I look back at the business ideas I've had, that are now successful compaines. One came from frustration in trying to book a trip in 2013. Another came while staying at an Airbnb in Romania in 2015. Another came from fostering rescue dogs in 2014.

People say I wish I started this business years ago. But in reality, you wouldn't have because that idea wasn't even in your head at that point.
 
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biophase

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Bio I'm in a similar situation as yours, and I'm stuck after answering this questions... let me explain

Who will benefit from my business?
I want to help the homeless population in Chicago by donating proceeds to shelters focusing on personal hygiene needs, ultimately what I want is to offer a place where they can shower and change clothes but that's far along the line so let's stop at "donating proceeds"

Why do I want to start that business?

Because I care about helping people back on their feet, and it must be difficult to not feel helpless when your clothes suck and you are (and feel) so dirty people can't share a train car with you. Homeless women have to deal with periods, on top of that.

What business do I want to start?

I've decided on private labeling a line of hygiene products, that can be sold individually or in like a gift-basket like Bath and Body works stuff.

Here's where I'm stuck:

So then the product does matter, to some extent. Sunglasses aren't anything unique YET you skew the value because of your business proposition (It's like TOMS. Those slip-ons have been worn by the gauchos since colony times, but it's the buy one we give one that makes people drop $30+ in those things...then they also became trendy, not sure how I just saw them more and more).

Am I on the right train of thought here? Because I keep wondering what's the Entry difficulty on private labeling lotions/shampoo etc. when your value proposition is something like ours. If you indeed were to do something simple as sunglasses, would it really work?

I mean I've seen ads for bath bombs shaped like kitties that help pandas on Instagram, but I have no idea whether they are selling stuff or not.

@MJ DeMarco I'd love your feedback on this too, the ratemybusinessidea tool gives me like a C+ to A- depending on (because I don't know what to choose) how I rate Entry, Need, Size of market.
Ok, so your overall goal is to build a place where the homeless can come and shower and wash up. So you start a hygiene line of soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and towels. You'd position it that a portion of proceeds is going to towards a fund that will purchase a building and renovate it for the homeless. Maybe you need $1M to do this. You'd probably need to sell $5M of product to get there. Maybe it will take 5 years to do it.

Launching a brand with this type of laser focus is pretty easy when it comes down to branding, marketing and vision. Just make sure your product is high quality and that your goal is communicated to the consumer.

I'd probably launch a shampoo and body wash company if I were doing this. The product actually is congruent with your goal.
 
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biophase

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Thank you for taking the time to create such an insightful post. This will go over a lot of people’s heads because of the simplicity yet difficulty of getting past the ego to see the gold in between the lines.
One thing that I've definitely learned in the past year is that ego is what is holding alot of people back. Ryan Holiday's book Ego is the Enemy is great. Reading that combined with my ayahuasca experience has made me very aware of my decisions and how many are ego based. Once you can get rid of ego (or at least minimize it), alot of things become very easy for you.
 
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biophase

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I know it was an illustrative example. But looks like someone saw that itch and figured out ONE way to solve it. The example of easy access backpack obviously provides similar value, but expands the use case, I.e. could be useful for more than biking. Great tread and example thought process @biophase.
I tried that. It holds the bear spray where your water bottle cage is. But on my bike, that wouldn't fit, which is why I need another solution. Most new full suspension bikes can't hold large water bottles now because the rear shock is located there.
 
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biophase

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I watched this guy waayyy back when I was deep into fitness. His skew is like 90% marketing, 10% remarkability. Better to max product remarkability than being forced to compensate with marketing in my opinion of course.

Once you stop the marketing on a product like this, it dies. These packaged goods are all the same: shampoo, food, shaving cream. It is the packaging that sells which falls under marketing bit.
It took him a year and a half to find a candy that he liked. If you watched the video, he didn't just pick any candy. He wanted something specific from the beginning. He knew what reaction and type of taste he wanted.

He sold out $120k of inventory in under an hour. So that's probably what, $500k in sales in 30 minutes?

I don't agree with you that it dies when he stops marketing it. Did you watch the whole video? His goal is to get it into convenience stores and gas stations.
 

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