You will need to conduct some Market Research on the following topics, or hire someone to do it for you. Note that if you are working with a university Technology Transfer Office (TTO), they often help with this research, since they want to know if it is worth investing time and resources in your idea. Entrepreneurship support centers, at universities or in larger communities, also may be able to offer guidance.
Alternative Product or Service Solutions:
Gather information on products or services that could serve as a substitute for yours. How does your proposed product or service compare? For example, in the biomedical industry, how does it compare in terms of mortality, morbidity, or consumption of other healthcare resources?
Gather information on the industry. Include, the risks and obstacles specific to this particular industry.
Market and Interest (Customer Discovery):
Gather information on the product-market fit. Get to know potential customers and their interest in the product.
- Know your customer
- How large is the market? Is it large enough to sustain the business?
- Learn the value proposition, which includes:
- The customer’s need or problem.
- What your product or service offers, its benefits.
- How those benefits solve the customer’s need or problem.
- Why your solution and delivery is the preferred one.
- What are the incentives for the adoption of your product or service? Understand the potential customers’ “pain points,” which would lead them to use your product or service. These may be economic, patient quality of life, ability to deliver care, or others.
What is Industry Value Chain Analysis? By William Cochran. Market Research Blog. 10/30/2019
Gather information on firms that could be your suppliers. Describe categories of supplies, challenges involved, and solutions. For example, is there a critical supply with limited alternatives? Some researchers have developed a supply they need themselves and then if not used, marketed that as a source of revenue to develop the original idea.
Gather information on competitors and potential competitors. How much of the potential market do they have? What are your differences? There is always some competition, direct or indirect, even if it is just the inertia of doing business as usual. The internet is a good place to start.
If initial research is promising, before committing large amounts of money or effort to a new business venture, you may want to hire a business specializing in this service or a patent attorney to make sure your search is thorough.
This research includes making sure that you are not blocked by existing patents of others. This is different from filing for a patent, which protects you from having others use your idea. Searching for existing patents that your idea might infringe upon is called a freedom-to-operate (FTO) search.
Learn regulatory requirements unique to your particular area of life sciences, such as healthcare/pharmaceuticals, genetic engineering, bioinformatics, or food innovations. Learn the likely time and costs involved in meeting these requirements. Courses are available online (Example course on BioTechnology Regulatory Compliance). Three agencies oversee many of these regulations:
Resources on Market Research
Market Research and Competitive Analysis – U.S. Small Business Administration
25 Useful Market Research Resources to Check Out – Market Research Blog by Sara Schmidt 12/5/2018. MarketResearch.com
How to Use the Customer Discovery Process [Complete Guide] Blog by Taras T. for Geniusee (Software product development site). 9/10/2021.
Health Focused Customer Discovery – Blog by ULP University Lab Partners. 10/2/2020