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3 Signs that Your Business (or Blog) Idea Won’t Work

Your spouse, family, and close friends have faith that your business (or blog) can become a success story. Or at least, they’re trying to keep their doubts to themselves.

But you have suspicions.

You thought you would’ve seen good results by now. And that’s making you question your business idea and maybe even your ability to succeed.

So, did you make a huge mistake that took months or years (and possibly thousands of dollars) from you?

All of these three signs are bad—even on their own. But if you see all of them, it might be time to change the idea, start fresh, or pack your bags completely.

On the other hand, if these signs are nowhere to be seen, your idea is likely to be very good.

If that’s the case, now is the time to figure out what’s holding you back and turn your business or blog around.

1. You Can’t Find Books or Courses About Your Topic

You need some number of people to be interested in what you do.

Some goals can be achieved even with relatively few interested people. But if you’re even a little ambitious, you should find books about what you do and/or courses (free or paid) around similar topics.

If you can’t find either, you might just be the first one to realize there’s a market gap.

But unfortunately, lack of books and courses usually means that too few people are interested. You can try to change that, i.e., make more people interested, but that’s challenging.

Usually, the better option is to change your focus. Often just a small adjustment is enough to grow your potential audience.

But sometimes your original idea is just very difficult to make work. A bigger change is needed.

How much do you need to change to start seeing books and/or courses that relate to your idea? You can’t know before you do the research and find out.

If you find that you need to change your idea completely, it’s going to hurt. But it’s going to hurt even more if you keep trying and don’t succeed.

If your idea can’t work, you’ll end up changing it eventually. The difference is will you still have the motivation to try again or will you just quit on your dreams after trying for so long.

2. You’re Stuck, and You Know It, But You Aren’t Dead Set On Changing It

This is a taboo, but here goes…

People love to blame circumstances that are outside their control for whatever is going wrong in their lives. But if you don’t take full responsibility of what happens, you won’t create the kind of life (and business) you want.

Things don’t always work out the way you wish they would, even if you do everything right. But if you’re dead set on finding the way no matter what it takes, you can reach almost any goal. Conversely, if you lack dedication, you’ll only succeed with luck.

Especially in situations where someone has already proved that your goal is reachable, there’s rarely a reason to think you can’t do the same.

So, if you aren’t determined to reach your goals no matter what it takes, you should probably change your goals to something more motivating.

If it isn’t worth working hard for, it probably isn’t worth working for at all.

What could you do today to take a significant step toward your business goal?

Then do it. Or at least schedule it for tomorrow.

It’s that simple.

The reason most people never do this is that they’re scared of admitting what they need to do. They come up with outside circumstances that they want to believe are the cause for not getting results. It’s easy to find outside circumstances.  Acknowledging the truth can be very difficult.

Maybe you already know what you should do, but you haven’t done it. Why?

For example, if you know you should get someone to help you, consider why you haven’t already done it. Is it too harsh to admit you need help? Do you think you can’t afford the help? Or haven’t you found anyone you can trust?

Be honest. And then take action.

3. You Don’t Strive to Be The Best in The World at What You Do

Just like you have to be dead set on finding a way to succeed, you need the drive to be the best in the world at what you do.

However, you don’t need to be the best to succeed. You just need the ambition to get better, regardless of how good you already are.

If you don’t want to get better, your business (or blog) will eventually feel menial and wither away.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just a sign that you probably should do something else. (Unless, of course, your goal is to sell the business as quickly as possible.)

You’ll also struggle to convince anyone that they should pay attention to you if you don’t even want to get better at what you do.

Note that if you once had the strive, but it has eluded you lately, you can sometimes recoup it. Remember why you enjoyed your business and what caused to to get involved in this line of work.

Think about how reaching your goals would affect your life. Don’t try to force yourself into liking it again, but don’t give up the moment things start to feel a bit tedious.

But since there’s no “undos” or “retries” in life, do yourself a favor and do something you’re actually passionate about. If that means changing direction or starting from scratch, it’s still the better call.

What If You Can’t See These Signs, But You Can’t See Results Either…

Hopefully you can’t see any of these signs with your business or blog. But something is still wrong if you aren’t seeing results either.

There are plenty of different “methodologies” and “processes” for figuring out what you need to change. I start by clarifying and strengthening your value proposition.

When you understand why people should pay attention to you and buy your products, it’s easy to build your marketing strategy so that it compels people to take action.

From your blog posts to your sales funnel, everything about your marketing should aim to make people understand and believe the best reasons they have for paying attention to what you’re offering. Or at least that’s the reason I start with a strong value proposition.

But you should build your marketing with whatever method feels most natural to you. Just use a method you understand from start to finish; all methods fail, every time, if you don’t know and understand each step.

Have you felt discouraged by the lack of results?

And are you dead set on doing whatever it takes to reach your goals? What action will you take today to get closer to them? Tell us in the comments.

About Peter Sandeen

Peter Sandeen dreams of sailing with his wife and dogs on the Finnish coast-unless he's helping someone build a clear marketing message and strategy that creates sales consistently. Download the quick 5-step exercise that shows what ideas are most likely to make people want to buy your products and services.

31 thoughts on “3 Signs that Your Business (or Blog) Idea Won’t Work

  1. Great post, Peter!

    I especially love tip number three – you don’t strive to be the best in the world at what you do. It reminds me of what legendary long distance swimmer Diana Nyad said, just after she decided to attempt her Cuba-Florida swim for the third time: she needed to pick a goal to ambitious it would require everything she had to make it happen. Only total commitment would do. This level of commitment — which includes wanting to be the best in the world at what you do — focuses a person’s efforts and helps to banish fear.

    Thanks again and happy sailing on the Finnish coast!

    Eleanor Beaton

    • I’m with you, Eleanor. It can sometimes get discouraging with ALL of the competition but you have to convince yourself that you are the best at what you do. I have a hyperlocal site that I’m planning to grow this year. My largest competition is a well-known university controls a certain community. Instead of thinking, “They’re going to clobber me”; I thought, “What would Google do?”

    • Hi Eleanor,

      That’s a great story 🙂 I might be mistaken, but I think Henry Ford said something along the lines of, “You should aim so high that other think you’re insane.” The point was, unless you aim that high, there’s no way you’ll stay on top. And yeah, there’s always someone who IS aiming high, and they’ll get ahead if you don’t hold yourself to similarly high standards.


    • Aiming to be the best at what you do, and getting better and better with each day, accelerating to new peaks. That’s the path I want to take. And it really vanishes fear when you motor yourself with all your efforts in the direction of your goals.
      Nice lesson from the swimmer and from Peter.

  2. I would challenge the first one a little bit. I understand what Peter is saying, but in some cases a lack of books or information on a subject is an opportunity to create something special. Sometimes, you just have to roll up your sleeves and figure out how to make it work. Sometimes you have to be the pioneer.

    • Hey Vincent,

      You’re absolutely right. I tried to say that with, “If you can’t find either, you might just be the first one to realize there’s a market gap.” but now that I look at it, the sentence made more sense to me when I wrote it 😉


  3. Peter,

    Great post. It’s counter-intuitive to think you’re dead in the water if there are tons of books already out there on your topic. But that just says there’s demand! So if there are NO books on your topic then this may well be the kiss of death.

    You threw down the gauntlet by challenging me to come up with one action step I can make today to get me closer to my goals. Okay, I will begin my registration process for my newest (a.k.a. first) webinar TODAY. Thanks for the nudge.

  4. “What action will you take today to get closer to your goals?” I ask myself that everyday (it’s essentially my desktop background).

    Great article Peter. Good reminder to stop reading other people’s work & get back to creating my own. Which I’m going to go do now.

    – Steve

  5. Remember too that stats change over time. This was never more true than in the financial fiasco of the past five years or so. Whole industries got turned upside down. So pick something that (a) you know and (b) you love. At least if there is a downturn, you won’t mind so much putting in the additional hours to make your business work.

  6. Blaming circumstances outside one’s control is key IMHO. I see this in all walks of life–personal relationships, dealing (or not) with conflict, living one’s passions, finding happiness, and to your point, succeeding in business. Taking responsibility is a such an important first step. So much becomes possible then. No more excuses (and that’s hard for some).
    Off I go to keep doing what I must to grow my audience.

    • Hey Jagoda,

      Yep, I didn’t make a strong case for it in the post, but it’s absolutely a key to “succeeding” in any part of life… Many people just don’t want to admit it because then they’d have to face that it’s their “fault” that their life isn’t what they want it to be.


  7. Thank you for this post! So many times I see people who have a “great idea” and don’t do any research to see if it will succeed.

    These are some great tips, thanks!

  8. Hi Peter,

    First of all, I hope your dogs are with you as you’re sailing! ; )

    My niche was ‘nailed’ because of your ‘value proposition’ worksheet. I will be forever grateful.

    I think I’m with Steve on the ‘taking action’ every single day, but I’d change it to actionS. When I get up everyday now, I have immediate actions I’ve plotted to take by the end of the day, and I have long term (goals) actions that I chip away at. I keep these current and reevaluate weekly. As a result, thus far, I haven’t gotten ‘stuck.’

    I also appreciate your encouragement on continuing to be the world’s best at whatever it is we do. There is so much to learn and benefit from in my niche and it’s so empowering when I continue learning and studying my specialty. I hope I never lose my passion for it.

    Thanks for a wonderful post. : )

    • Hey Lynn,

      I’m afraid sailing is just a dream now. Sure, the water isn’t frozen yet, but our boat has been on the shore for months already 🙂

      I do something very similar with a to-do list app. I create the list of things I need to do on any one day before that day—usually for almost a week ahead—so I’m always focused. If there’s extra time left after finishing the tasks, I have a list of “business development” tasks I can check off.


  9. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m just getting started, but it’s clear I need to nail down my value proposition, so this weekend, that’s one of my next tasks.

    All the best!

  10. Peter,
    I just love your approach to marketing. The one which starts from responsibility, motivation and values.
    I go back to chiselling my USP. It’s not precise enough yet, as I don’t see the results I want.

  11. There will always be one comment about how Apple started a revolution or there weren’t any Snuggies until someone thought of the idea (that ‘one comment’ isn’t this one!).

    Absolutely agree with number 1 – the Amazon popular sellers list is a great place to start when looking for a new niche product. Why reinvent the wheel? Why not go to where a paying audience already exists?

    Great post, Peter !

    • Hey Razwana,

      Yeah, I’ve been waiting for that one. But maybe people noticed that I did mention that if no one else is doing something, it might be an opportunity…

      And yep, Amazon is a great inspiration and market research tool 🙂


  12. Often we get stuck in the weeds, become overwhelmed with detail or action, or become underwhelmed when results are elusive. I think it is so important to make sure you understand your ‘why’. When I see people off course or fading in dedication it is often because their why isn’t really that strong.

    Great tips to look for! Thanks for this post!!

  13. Thanks for the article and encouraging words. I am really passionate about my work, and in my case its not that there is no information available on the contrary there is a lot of information in the field, and at times i find myself flooded with information and it feels like omg …

    Thanks for your guidance to stick to what am best at and really deepen my knowledge at what i can best offer to my clients.


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