Do you ever have a really good idea for a product?
You know, the kind of idea that makes you grab strangers by the shoulders and rush to explain the whole thing. For the next hours or even days you will be in full swing and want to turn your big idea into reality.
It’s a great feeling.
There’s only one problem: what comes up has to go down, and sometimes big ideas do just that – they flop hard.
You could shake it off and say that failure is really a learning experience, but wouldn’t you rather learn how to avoid these product flops to save time, money, and heartache?
I know I would.
Here are seven warning signs your big product idea is about to flop – and seven ways to avoid landing with a splat:
1. You keep changing your mind
You are burning through your project and are absolutely thrilled. Everything is going great! It’s such a great idea.
But it would be even better if you added that one element.
Wait, no – maybe you should do this instead. That would be great.
Or maybe you should change that – it would make your project even better! It will crush all the products in the niche!
Business old schoolers call it “scope change,” and it can seriously hamper your progress. The more you push the boundaries and keep expanding your project, the more it becomes a time consuming, costly monster that never ends.
The risks increase, your schedule is discarded, the deadlines are met and the quality drops.
Give yourself a designated amount of time to research and plan the scope of your project before you begin. Take a few days, weeks, or months to really think things through. Then it’s ok to waffle because no one else is watching and you don’t have to go back.
But when that time is up, stop, make the decisions you need to make, and move on. Think of it as a deadline. You can change your mind up to a specific day on the calendar. After that, stick with the plan until you’re done.
2. You haven’t found out the price
Most people don’t bother trying to figure out what their business idea is costing them, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of time and opportunity costs. They just cling to their idea, work like crazy for weeks, blindly investing their time and money.
Then, six months after launch, they wonder why they are broke, exhausted and trapped.
Before doing a project, you need to find out what it will cost you:
- Overhead: Do you need office space? Employees? Equipment? Do you have to pay the travel expenses? What is the total hard cost?
- Labor costs: What will you pay yourself Even if you live on savings, it is still an expense. Write it down.
- Opportunity costs: What options do you have to give up? How much does that cost you in both the short and long term?
- Time costs: When will you work on it And what are you doing in the other hours that you have to cut out? Will you sacrifice sleep Time with your family? Overtime at work?
When you have calculated the real cost, ask yourself if you are ready to pay that price. Your idea might be awesome, but if you don’t know what it will cost you, you will likely never get finished.
Before starting a project, make sure you know exactly what it will cost you.
3. You think you just need time
You’ve done the math and found that it doesn’t require any major financial investments, just your time. Maybe a few weeks of hard work, maybe a few months. All you have to do is buckle up and do it.
But here’s the big question: who will pay the bills in the meantime?
Every hour you spend working on Project X is an hour less than you can work with other sources of income. If your time is worth $ 100 an hour, do you really want to invest 1,000 free hours on a project that could potentially make you $ 5,000?
When you do this, you are essentially investing $ 100,000 for a return of $ 5,000. Not smart.
The reality is you may lose money – and that’s not always bad. Indeed, as I mentioned earlier, a multimillionaire can lose money.
But if you don’t factor in the cost of your time, you could end up with a flop.
If you want to be successful, work out your hourly rate and then delegate or outsource tasks that are below that rate. Sometimes it is better to work for someone else and convert that income into paid freelancers than to finish all of your projects and cut off all of your income streams.
Smart businesspeople invest their time wherever they get the best return.
4. Nobody seems to “get” the concept
This is one of the biggest red flags that will flop your product. Unfortunately, most people are so excited about their big idea that they don’t see the forest for the trees.
You excitedly explain your product to some people, but they don’t seem to understand. They explain more. You seem insecure. They ask questions. They answer, but they hesitate. So you slow down and try to explain it as simply as possible, but you still don’t seem to get through.
Maybe they’re not as smart as you are. Or maybe they just don’t get it. Maybe they are not your target audience.
But here’s why it matters: if your customer doesn’t get the idea, it doesn’t matter how brilliant it is. It’s going to flop.
So watch out for people’s reactions. At what point in the statement do you seem confused? What part do you not understand? Where do you lose her
These are the places that you need to sort out. A link is missing somewhere and it needs to be found now, not later.
Or maybe you just need a new idea.
5. You get it, but no one seems interested
Sometimes people get your idea, but they shrug their shoulders and say, “So what?”
Maybe they are indicating that someone else has already done it, or maybe they don’t see the problem you are addressing, or maybe they just find it boring.
You’re polite and listen to your idea, but not for long – your phone or email is far more interesting.
Look out for this lack of interest because no enthusiasm means no sale. They know you are on the right track when:
- They say: “I’ve been dealing with this for years. Can you really fix it “
- They laugh, cry, or get angry. The stronger the emotional response, the better the idea.
- Your eyebrows rise and ask, “Is that really possible? That would be great! “
- They’ll get your idea back to the point the next time you see it. It shows that they thought about it, and that’s exactly what you want from your prospects.
If you don’t get any of these answers, find out why. What do people really want? What do you need? What is missing?
You may be able to tweak your big idea to meet this requirement.
6. You don’t really believe in yourself
You may really, really want to get your big idea off the ground and you believe it will be successful, but you are secretly wondering whether or not you can make it happen.
Maybe you are an engineer and you have no confidence in your saleability. Or maybe you’re a digital marketer and you are struggling to keep accurate financial records for investors and bankers. Or maybe you’ve never led anyone and the idea of hiring and leading people scares you.
You tried to stay positive but deep down you are doubting yourself. You hope you can make it, but when you talk to other people about your idea, you can feel your insecurity flow through.
If you don’t believe in yourself, neither will anyone. People have a sixth sense of insecurity and will perceive every signal of self-doubt that you send out. It can kill even the best ideas.
Nobody expects you to be perfect, but it takes leadership to get an idea off the ground, and people expect leaders to be confident. So work on it.
The best way to build confidence is to start small and make some early gains.
If you are concerned about sales, generate leads that you are sure will turn into sales and contact them first. If you are worried about finances, get sample reports and start with the ones you understand. If you are concerned about managing people, hire smart, ambitious people who don’t require a lot of manual labor first.
Make it easy for yourself and grow into who you need to be.
7. You don’t seem to find the time to come up with your idea
This is probably the most common sign of an impending product flop: you know your project is going to be a success – but you don’t seem to be able to find time to work on it.
You keep pushing your idea aside. Other work comes up. Something else is more urgent. You are busy. You postpone your own deadlines and keep putting your big idea in the background.
It’s likely because you’re scared.
Perhaps you are afraid that your big idea will not succeed (even though you are pretty sure it will). Or that it actually works and you don’t know how to deal with it. Or that you make mistakes and get laughed at and lose the respect of the people you admire.
Whatever the reason, if you hesitate, sit down for a little self-observation session. Think about why you’re not working on this great idea. Ask yourself:
- What life changes do you think would happen if you completed them?
- What do these changes mean for you?
- Why do you want to avoid them?
- Are you realistic concerns?
- What is the worst case scenario?
Be honest with yourself. Often times, reality is very different (and simpler!) Than we imagine.
Perhaps after some introspection, you realize that the big idea isn’t going to be good for you. Sometimes our gut instincts send warning messages to watch out for – just because a project is going to be successful doesn’t mean it is the right one for us.
And if so, there are plenty of other – better – ideas to pursue. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s this:
The next big idea is always just around the corner.
Not all great ideas are meant to be big hits. However, many of the largest companies in the world were just a good idea. Check the warning signs above and make sure you are in the best possible position to move forward.
Then it’s time to delve into. First, learn who your audience really is and do market research. Create a business plan and don’t forget to consider outsourcing tasks that you don’t have the time or knowledge to do.
What if you flop? Take some time to relax and try again.
Are you working on your next big idea? What is holding you back