95% of all start-ups fail. Why?
One of the most common reasons is that the business owners don’t test the market.
Sometimes this is for fear that the customers won’t like the idea, sometimes fear of giving away the secret unique selling proposition, sometimes because it is felt a fully working product or system needs to be developed before it can be tested on customers, sometimes because no one did enough work estimating and projecting the costs of running the business and the anticipated, realistic profits from it.
There are other reasons, but all of the above are common and inexcusable.
The business will only succeed with customers, so they need to be integrated into the business from the earliest possible point and constantly through its development so that there will be sales lined up and waiting to happen once the product or service is released.
Depending on what your product or service is, sometimes it can take months or years to develop and need significant resource in terms of people or money. Once you commit your final design to the development and manufacture cycle it is very hard to change its direction. Unless you are certain that you have customers lining up to buy exactly what you are creating this could spell disaster for your idea.
An important step to take, whenever possible, is to creat a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This is the most basic incarnation of your concept that shows the critical, unique features (or more importantly the unique benefits) of your product or service to enable you to test customers’ interest in it.
For engineers in particular this is a tough challenge because engineers like to ensure a high quality of product before ever releasing it. However waiting until a refined, finished product is developed before testing to see if customers like it will generally kill the company off if they don’t due like it. Is there ever any point in creating a lovely but worthless product?