Starting a business can feel lonely, and it can be hard to validate your ideas. That's why it's extra important to understand your competitors and the market around you. I spent over 15 hours speaking with other vendors in my industry to get a pulse on current trends and the customer's mindset. I spent additional time mapping out my competitors' strengths as well as their shortcomings.
Waldon Fenster, a small business consultant, said that first you should identify the problem you want to solve, the core audience you want to reach, and the ways you want to make the world more convenient for people. After that, the next step is to determine if the market is ready for your service or product.
"One good indicator that the market is ready for your business idea is that someone is already doing it," said Fenster. "I know that sounds counterintuitive to most people, but the fact is that nothing is really new under the sun. And frankly, if no one is solving the problem you want to solve, then it's possible that either it's not the problem you think it is, or no one else is being inconvenienced by it the way you are."
When you think of your idea, start with research. Even if someone else is already tackling the problem, it doesn't mean you can't start a similar business. What it does mean is that you need to figure out what value you can provide and how you can be a little bit different than any other business out there. It's a challenge that may make you both uber successful and uber frustrated at the same time. But if you're passionate about making your business work, it's a challenge you should be eager to accept.