Here are four questions Greiner says budding entrepreneurs need to ask themselves to know if their product idea is a “hero or a zero”:
1. What is my product?
“This sounds easy, but you’d be surprised at how many people have a hard time articulating their idea,” she says. “If it takes you more than one or two sentences to describe your product or business, you probably don’t have a clear enough vision of how it’s going to work or whom it’s for.”
2. Will people like it?
“We see this a lot on Shark Tank. Sometimes you have a vision and you think something’s fantastic, but really nobody wants it. It’s just you who thinks it’s fantastic,” she says. “So you need to find out if your product idea is something that people are actually really hungry for and needing, something that will be popular on a large scale.
“Do your own guerilla market research here. Hit the streets and ask people, not just friends and family, but really go out there and find out yourself. Do your own focus groups. If people are not impressed with your product idea, tell them it’s not your idea and that you’re just working for a market research company. Then go home and go back to the drawing board.”
3. Does it solve a problem?
“You want your product to be an answer that solves everyday issues that people struggle with,” Greiner says. “Think of problems you’ve experienced yourself or that you’ve seen others experience. Would you want to use your product yourself? Be honest. Does it really solve a problem for you? Does it provide a helpful service or save work or time? If not, don’t sell it.”
4. Is it something people need and want?
“The idea is to create something that people can’t live without once they start using it,” she says. “You want your product to be seen as a must-have necessity, something that makes people feel good and that they’ll still want to buy, even in hard times.”
The “small luxuries,” such as “specialty coffees, treats, cosmetics, and haircuts” that sell well regardless of the economy because they help people feel better. “They always want to spend money on these basic things,” she says. “In tough times, these are the ways we treat ourselves.”