How do I run a feasibility study to know if my new business idea will work?
I own and operate a local online store in Lebanon that sells almost anything gadgets - tools, kitchenware, fashion, watches, etc. My website is www.otloubnow.com.
I have been working on my business for almost two years, and have built up an OK audience on social media platforms.
I want to change the nature of my store to become a DIY store, it is going to be only for products that are cheaper but you have to assemble them yourself when delivered. I want to open different categories: Furniture, decorations, toys, art, and pet accessories. Basically everything related to the Do It Yourself concept.
I want to know how to make a feasibility study to see if my project would be a success or not.
Can anyone help me with how this study should be done and what it should include?
Thank you in advance and best regards,
I checked your "everything" website, its ok, looks like you put some good work on it. It does need to be revamped for better navigation and customer experience. IMO you can't be "everything" :)
I see your entrepreneurship spirits exploding with ideas, congratulations! It's time now to sit down and write a business plan, what will be your long term goals, what are you passionate about, what are you best at. You can't be in gadget, fashion, pet, kitchenware. You can't be everything, are you trying to be eBay or Amazon? Even Amazon started with books first. You have to have some solid plan, solid directions and acts. And now after working on what you did for 2 years, you think you want to change everything to DIY, all of the previous work will be gone? Are you going to just forget what you have done so far?
Why DIY, where did you get this idea, is the DIY going to be in Lebanon? Are you ready to deal with inventory? As per my experience, the DIY will require tons more inventory for 1,000's of items, you will need a huge budget, you will also need a lot of training video on how to do things or how else you will attract customers? You will also need to concentrate on ONE niche to start with, let's say DIY toys and to make this successful you will need to do tons of DIY videos showing how's it done and why it's better to do it yourself rather than buying it done/finished from the store.
If you are really set on the DIY idea, please don't jump on it and forget what you have worked on for the last 2 years, use your current social media audience to get some insights, maybe even ask them of what they think about DIY toys or start with one niche and test it and see the challenges you will face and whether you will like it a year from now or not, then once all done and you get some good success out of it, at that time you will learn a lot for your next move.
I'll start with a story. There were few guys in your position and they wanted to know if their new idea is any good or not. They planned a lot, designed the best interface they could, created an MVP, launched and waited for people to sign up... Crickets... almost nothing.
They knew their concept was good but even after their initial study, it didn't seem to work.
Then one day they decided to meet their customers. They went from door to door and sat down their initial users to know what they thought of their service, what was missing, what would make it better, they watched their initial customers access the online service and found how badly it was designed (even after following all the best principals they could).
They took all the data they got from their initial customers and implemented them in their new version. Since then they never looked back. They were guys at Airbnb.
Ask your existing customers!
You have a great audience on facebook and since you are already out there selling for 2 years, you must have a great email list as well.
Be genuine and ask them. Share your idea in an email, run a poll on Insta and Facebook and see what kind of a response you get. You can also run a pre-sale offer and collect customer voice on your social.
Customer study is the main study but a few other things you can do:
Ask yourself WHY you want to do it?
What pain problem it is solving?
Maybe furniture is expensive in Lebanon and a DIY could cut costs and attract a specific audience. Would you or your mom ever use the service?
What are other DIY alternatives in Lebanon? How big are they? What kind of review they have? Can you beat them at scale/at creativity/at the brand?
Will DIY add additional customer support services?
Identify your target audience. Meet/talk with a sample. Ask. Ask. Ask.