“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” –Wernher von Braun
Research is the single most important step when deciding on a business model to pursue.
Do not skip nor skimp on this step.
Complete this process for every idea you have. While you go through this process, document and file your finding. You will need these notes when you start with your new business proper. We recommend a spreadsheet to organise the data.
Keywords and Competitor Research
Look at the top sites that come up in the search results and see what they’re doing.
Look and see what their business model is? What they’re actually doing and then go and see how popular their site. Check them on these sites.
What we’re interested in, is the sites listed in Google.
If a website is on the first page of Google there’s something happening with that site. They must be doing something right, because Google is telling us it’s the most relevant for the keyword.
Find all the keywords related to your nook. Research who ranks for these keywords. List everyone who would be a competitor. Fill in your spreadsheet.
Go through your competitors list, one at a time. Follow the next steps for each competitor in the list.
Study Your Competitors
We have written in depth about this here.
Make a list of competitors and prospects
View your competitors from your customers perspective. Look for the things they are doing well, and also look for things they suck at.
Add this to your spreadsheet.
Dig Deeper in Your Niche
Complete other research. Such things would be to check out the nook in Google trends. Research all the shoulder niches on the Social media networks.
Social Media Research – Reddit
The best place to find out more information about an interest is on Reditt. And the best place to do that is w/ redditlist.com
You get a better view of the sub-Reddit’s than the actual Reddit search engine. The column in the middle shows how many subscribers a sub-Reddit currently has. The other important one is on the right, the fastest growing sub-Reddits.
For research they are both interesting because one will have less competition (as it’s growing) and the other already has a large-established audience so it’s easy to see what type of content they like.
Note the Most Popular Topics Being Posted
When you find a sub-reddit you like, go find the most popular content ever posted in that category. This will give you great content ideas for your potential new website.
Going through all the content you get a real idea of what makes that particular audience ‘tick’. Particularly, when it comes to up voting articles.
Put all the information in a spreadsheet and figure out which one will make the best business.
A combination of knowledge and passion that can be monetised
So to summarise
- Don’t pick a tiny niche. Pick a vertical. Meaning it’s huge and contains billions of dollars of transactions. Research the monetisation potential.
- Pick a vertical that you have passion for. Or a complementary skill set or knowledge base.
- Pick a vertical that you know nothing about but would love to learn. Research that niche.
- Pick an angle. Find the gaps where you can slip between your competition. Or spot opportunities, to do better than a particular competitor(s) to take market share.
Document the Research
Like I mentioned before, you put it all this research into a spreadsheet.
You should have a work sheet for each;
- A list of all the competitors
- List of business one step removed (shoulder business) – Not competition, but possible relationships for mutual benefit
- A list of related Keywords
- Document the different content ideas
- Potential range of products and services that you could offer
If you have 3-4 ideas and you did this kind of research for them. Pretty soon you would have a very good idea which one is better to pursue.
If you get stuck and have two final ideas, you will need to do some further testing. I Called it, putting it to the people. By that I mean, test each idea via social media.
- YouTube (make videos about each topic and upload them to see what the response is)
- Start talking about each topic on Twitter
- Put a Facebook fan page for each topic, see what happens
- You could even go as far as placing ads to see the response
Point to make here. You need to go to as far as you need to to be sure your idea is worth pursuing.
If you have any questions, just leave a comment through the contact form. I will leave a reply on this page, so it can benefit everybody.