Step 10: Check out competitors using analysis tools

One important part of checking if there’s a market for your business is to look at competitors and brands that are already ‘in your space’.

One easy way to check out your competition is to look at how many people are searching for what you’re selling. If there are millions of searches for ‘coffee subscription service’ then you may want to think again unless you’re keen to slog on and make your new / small voice heard in a very noisy market (unless, of course, you believe you’re offering something truly unique and different to everyone else).

If there are too few searches for ‘fluorescent knitting needles’ then your bright idea (geddit?) may need some further questioning – eg are people not searching for this product because they’re unlikely to buy it? Or are they just not aware of such a unique product because no brand currently offers this edgy product and could actually be temped to buy if they were exposed to it?

Also, have a play with Google Trends ( to see when these searches rise and fall, so you can get an idea of when sales may rise and fall throughout the year (you can also filter results by country and other factors).

If you’re up for some deeper research you could also use some of the tools in Google Adwords (its advertising platform) to deep dive into very specific insights about what keywords people use to find certain products. Google’s free tool ‘Keyword Planner’ lets you search for keyword ideas, get historical statistics, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list by mashing up several lists of keywords together. Keyword research is useful to consider when it comes to writing some of the titles and headings on your product website or deciding which products to focus your efforts on – which is all part of Search Engine Optimisation or SEO – but more on that later.

Don’t fret about using these tools – they’re easy once you get stuck in. As Google says itself – ‘Whether you’re new to online advertising or an experienced pro, you can use Keyword Planner to lay the groundwork for a successful campaign.’