Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

How to Know If Your Business Idea Will Fly

January 20th, 2011 by Bob Bly

At least once a week, someone comes to me with a business idea ? typically a new product or service ? and asks, ?Will this work??

Perhaps you too have an idea for a new product or service ? but would like to know whether it has a realistic chance of success before you invest your time and hard-earned money in it.

I will give you the same piece of advice I give everyone else?.

*** Look around to see whether anyone else is doing what you propose.***

If you find at least one other person doing it successfully (i.e., making money at it), then it could work for you, too ? if you are smart and lucky.

On the other hand, if no one else is doing it, there?s no reason to think YOU can ? and I?d probably look for something else.

This may be somewhat counterintuitive. Then again, a lot of business success principles are.

?Isn?t it great that no one else is doing my idea?? someone asked me the last time I said this. ?That means I thought of it first and there?s no competition!?

Actually, it?s almost certain that many others thought of it before you.

What should trouble you is that these individuals ? some of whom may be as smart or even smarter than you ? evaluated the idea, and after careful consideration, decided not to proceed.

Or, they tried it and failed.

In other words, the reason no one else is doing your idea is because it won?t work!

Conversely, you might think that if others are doing your idea, there?s already too much competition.

That may or may not be the case.

But if others are doing the same idea, and making money at it, then that idea has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to work in the real world.

And if THEY are making money at it, there?s a good chance you can too.

After all, you are probably nearly as smart ? or even smarter ? than many of those people.

Most of the people you probably think of as innovators were actually not.

Bill Gates, for instance, is thought of as the creator of the first personal computer operating system, MS-DOS.

But actually, another programmer created MS-DOS.

Bill Gates bought it from him for $50,000 cash, made some modifications, and sold it to IBM for royalties that made him the wealthiest man in the world.

In fact, MS-DOS was not even the first commercially successful PC operating system.

That honor goes to CPM, a rival operating system that was invented and offered to IBM first (they didn?t take it, but the old Kaypro computers ran on it).

One other counterintuitive piece of advice?.

If you decide to market a new product or service, and your test campaign fails miserably, don?t keep pushing to make it incrementally better, in the hopes that you can turn a loser into a winner.

Much better is to cut your losses and abandon the idea — before you pour good money after bad.

Example: A reader came to me asking if I could save her business by writing a direct mail package.

I asked what her first mailing, which seemed competent to me (though not first rate), brought in. Did it break-even? Cover half its mailing cost?

Turns out, it pulled only a few orders with thousands of pieces mailed.

I reminder her, ?Even a great package might pull only double or triple a package that failed ? and even if we triple the response, you won?t even be close to breaking even ? so this just isn?t going to work.?

Needless to say, I did not write the package for her, though I am convinced I saved her from wasting many thousands of dollars on another test doomed to fail.


This entry was posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 at 1:29 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

84 responses about “How to Know If Your Business Idea Will Fly”

  1. Is Star Copywriter Bob Bly Wrong About Business? | Fix Your Broken Marketing said:

    […] a post last week, Bob Bly offered some advice on how to tell if your business idea will fly. He said one way to tell if your idea was any good was to look around and see if anyone else was […]

  2. Ken Hoffman said:

    It’s true we wouldn’t have many fine inventions if people took that approach…however…I think he’s talking about business. Going with things that others are doing successfully greatly increases your chance of success.

    I like what Dan Kennedy says, “pioneers have arrows in their backs.” Doesn’t sound like fun being a pioneer. If you want to be an innovator, then be an inventer not a marketer.

  3. Mobile Leads said:

    Great ideas for a business very helpful and grows business then increase employment and Income i love it and iwanna own.
    Thank you for post..

  4. How to Start a Business 1, 2, 3 - Part 4 of 6 said:

    […] any formal education, understanding marketing and how to market yourself/business is essential 4. How to Know If Your Business Idea Will Fly – blog – direct marketing blog – knowing who you competitors are Starting a business may seem easier than it really it is…so […]

  5. Top 10 Rules for Small Business Success said:

    […] any formal education, understanding marketing and how to market yourself/business is essential 4. How to Know If Your Business Idea Will Fly – blog – direct marketing blog – knowing who you competitors are Good luck. Anyone can start their own business if they put their […]

  6. How to tell if a business idea will work? said:

    […] any formal education, understanding marketing and how to market yourself/business is essential 4. How to Know If Your Business Idea Will Fly – blog – direct marketing blog – knowing who you competitors are Honestly, I think anyone can start their own business if they […]

  7. Codrut Turcanu said:

    There’s time for innovation and invention but there’s not time for reinventing the wheel. That’s non-sense to me. Why create a new product for a new market when you can create a better solution for the same market and reap the gains 🙂

  8. Darren said:

    This reminds me of what I learned from Guy Kawasaki in The Art of the Start.

    If there’s no competition for your product or service, it’s likely because there’s no market for it!

    It also reminds me of what I learned from Michael Masterson in Ready, Fire, Aim.

    Innovation usually comes from product evolution, not product revolution.

  9. Jack's Customized Fat Loss Review said:

    being observant is also required to run a business. You must observed what’s the trend, what do people need on their daily life, and then think if the product you’re planning to create will be of a daily help for people.

    – Jack Leak

  10. games ps3 move said:

    i just thought that queen latifah is one of the best comedians out there, she is really funny’

  11. play now said:

    hey there as well as thank you for your data * I have certainly picked up anything new from in this article. I did nonetheless experience a few technical points applying this website, because i knowledgeable to be able to refill the site many times earlier than I can have it to be able to weight appropriately. I was questioning if your web hosting is fine for some? Not too I am just worrying, yet sluggish loading situations occasions will certainly at times influence your own placement on the internet and can damage your own good quality report when adverts and also marketing and advertising together with Adwords. Effectively I’m adding this specific Feed to be able to my own email and may be aware of really your respective interesting content. Ensure you up-date it can immediately..

  12. Setting up a business in the states | Business information said:

    […] any formal education, understanding marketing and how to market yourself/business is essential 4.…idea-will-fly/ – knowing who you competitors […]

  13. transform your results said:

    transform your results…

    […]How to Know If Your Business Idea Will Fly – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  14. Setting up a business in the states » import export license said:

    […] any formal education, understanding marketing and how to market yourself/business is essential 4.…idea-will-fly/ – knowing who you competitors […]

  15. W said:

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  16. Bernice Rewerts said:

    Hello colleagues, its wonderful paragraph concerning teachingand entirely explained, keep it up all the time.|

  17. Lester Froehle said:

    We would like to thank you yet again for the gorgeous ideas you offered Janet when preparing her post-graduate research in addition to, most importantly, pertaining to providing the many ideas in a blog post. In case we had been aware of your web page a year ago, we’d have been rescued from the needless measures we were taking. Thanks to you.

  18. said:

    They are sponsored websites so the results of the search word.

    During summer the intake of regular diet is less but the salads with nice dressings and variety of
    toppings can actually work a appetizers. url + ‘” class=”adline1_title_link” target=”_blank”>’ +.

  19. click url said:

    Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will
    often come back later in life. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great posts, have a nice evening!

  20. read here said:

    I wouldn’t possibly appreciate how I ended upward right here, however thought this specific post once was excellent. I don’t recognize whom you are however absolutely you’ll a well-known blog writer if you aren’t currently. All the best!

  21. Monza said:

    that’s some advice to be considered but I don’t entirely agree. I see nothing wrong in invention. Pioneering. I know of many businesses that pioneered new products and made a success from them. Its that simple, with careful research and belief in your idea, GO FOR IT! If noone else is doing it, its because they never thought of it or were scared to do it! Why not think of it that way?

  22. Http://Www.Squidoo.Com/ said:

    I am actually happy to read this web site posts which contains tons of helpful data, thanks for providing these

  23. JSC result said:

    Amazing post! Thanks for sharing

  24. JSC Result 2017 said:

    Awesome blog,thanks for sharing,really very helpful.

  25. ssc result said:

    I really liked your article.Really looking forward to read more.http://www.ssc result 2018
    http://www.ssc result 2018

  26. SSC Result 2018 Bangladesh said:

    Very good post that it.. I’ve shared this post on my timeline..

  27. SSC Result 2018 Bangladesh said:

    Check your SSC Result 2018 online from

  28. Celebrity Wiki said:

    Great Articles! Thanks for sharing

  29. Mp3 Download said:

    Nice business tips

  30. Mp4 Download said:


  31. Eid Mubarak Bangla font said:

    Welcome to our Modern collection About Eid Mubarak Bangla font. You can be download Eid Mubarak Bangla font in our Website. People are Celebrating this Eid by Sending Eid Mubarak Greetings Card 2019. Some people are sending SMS to their Friends & Family Members. We have a large collection of Eid Mubarak SMS 2019. You can see this to send others during this Eid.
    Eid Mubarak Bangla font

  32. Hindi earning blog said:

    Thanks for sharing this awesome article. I learn a lot from this amazing article. I also share lots of business ideas in Hindi. If you interested to start won business and want to be own boss then definitely read this Small Business Ideas in Hindi

  33. Hindi earning blog said:

    Thanks for sharing this awesome article. I learn a lot from this amazing article. I also share lots of business ideas in Hindi. If you interested to start won business and want to be own boss then definitely read this

  34. lomomsdd said:

    The series will then travel to Daytona International Speedway Orlando Supercross Race Live for Round 9 followed by a three-race stint for Rounds 10, 11 and 12 in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, March 13, Tuesday, March 16, and Saturday, March 20 at AT&T Stadium.

  35. AleksShamles said:

    Zovirax est un excellent outil pour lutter contre les maladies de la peau. En hiver, ma peau devient très sèche. Le corps manque de vitamines. Des démangeaisons et des irritations apparaissent. Ce médicament m’aide. En passant, je le commande dans une pharmacie en ligne sans ordonnance. Et je reçois mon colis à la maison dans quelques jours.

  36. All HInid Helps said:

    Excellent and very informative information i like it thanks for sharing this.
    Guys i am telling you different way and lots of Small Business Ideas In Hindi if you like it than please visit .

  37. Suraj Kushwaha said:

    Thanks for sharing this awesome information I like and learn a lot from this Informative Article Once again Thankyou.
    Guys, I have Great Information about a New Search Engine that’s made In India if you want to know then click Neeva Search Engine

  38. Nutan Paik said:

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information.
    Kindly visit my website for hindi articles.
    Manufacturing Business Ideas In Hindi

  39. Biznsidea said:

    This is what I exactly need thanks for this opportunity ?

  40. One Dasty said:

    ease the transition to their new home and family. Owning a pug puppy or French Bulldog puppy is hard work. Making sure but by offering our customers a great amount of support, we assist in the preparations to make it less stressful. To provide a completely different environment for our puppies, we thoroughly researched and make sure this puppies will only go to respectable families

  41. gclub said:

    gclub take your wife to buy it, it is very beautiful and looks valuable in the old. And magical Can be used to decorate the house And can put in the showcase

  42. afb1188 said:

    you made blogging look easy. superlot The overall look of your site is magnificent, as well as the content!.

  43. Hiren Patel said:

    Excellent and very informative information i like it thanks for sharing this.
    Guys i am telling you different way and lots of
    low Investment High Profit Business Ideas In Hindiif you like it than please visit

  44. Ndure Shoes said:

    Ndure offers their customers the highest quality hoods and pullover hoodies for kids. Get the best available boys Hoodies and hoodies for girls in Pakistan. All types of denim jackets for girls so they can stay in comfort without compromising on style. So, come to Ndure for amazing pullover hoodies for girls.

  45. gclub said:

    Thank you very much for your kindness that you open the opportunity King99 anything in return Thank you very much.

  46. Rios Cosmetics said:

    Amazing air freshener and air freshener spray are offered by Rios, a multi brand retailer The shop wants to give customers delight by offering top notch air freshener price in Pakistan Their air freshener is perfect and precisely what you require With their air freshener sprays, Rios satisfies all of your needs.

  47. Metro Shoes said:

    Metro Shoes is offering flat chappal for girls online in Pakistan. Buy Latest chappal online at cost-effective price.

  48. Jazmin pk said:

    Buy Women dress design from Jazmin clothing brand to make your outfit fashionable. The price is cost-effective and design are very elegant.

  49. Borjan Shoes said:

    Shop a wide range of women shoes, women heels, women court shoes, women peep toes, women boot, women sport shoes and many more Shoes for women online in Pakistan.

  50. Rios Cosmetics said:

    Rios is a multi-brand well known for cosmetics and beauty products that offers nighty that is comfortable. Rios is best website to purchase from night dress and other cosmetics

  51. Rivaj UK said:

    Grab amazing cosmetics and related products like primer makeup and the best primer, only from Rivaj. So, grab their best primers today and enjoy. Their primer makeup sets are truly unbeatable and offer a high degree of satisfaction. Rivaj offers the best primer makeup to their customers all the time.

  52. Rios Cosmetics said:

    Rios is a store that constantly offers amazing nail polish colors and nail polish designs. The store aims to provide satisfaction through high quality products like nail polish designs. Their nail polish colors are perfect and just what you need Rios fulfills your every demand, with their items like nail polish.

  53. Flormar said:

    From shop the best concealer for your face and reduce dark circles under your eyes. Choose the perfect concealer-corrector from a huge range of shades available in Pakistan.

  54. ShopECS said:

    If you want to get sneakers for women in a hassle free manner then ECS is the best place for you. We provide you the best of our collections in most affordable prices.

  55. PinsStep said:

    PinsStep offers its customers the Best Transparent PVC Shoes for women. We have the highest quality Women’s Shoes in Pakistan for the most affordable prices at your door step. Get PinsStep amazing collection of  transparent women’ shoes online to keep yourself in style and comfort.

  56. Oxeltech said:

    Circuit board design involves the creation of a detailed plan for the layout and connections of electronic components on a printed circuit board (PCB). This process is critical in the development of electronic devices and systems, and requires specialized knowledge and expertise in electronic engineering and design.

  57. Jazz Gill said:

    Lavorg a global talent marketplace that connects businesses with pre-screened, high-quality technology talent from around the world.

    The platform is designed to help businesses overcome the challenges of finding and hiring skilled tech talent, particularly in a remote or distributed work environment. By leveraging its network of vetted talent and streamlined hiring process, Lavorg enables businesses to quickly and easily assemble teams of top-tier developers, engineers, designers, and other technology professionals from around the world.

    Our unique approach to build remote tech teams helps companies reduce costs, increase efficiency, and tap into a global talent pool. Our team of experts provides guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring that businesses can focus on their core activities while Lavorg handles the rest.

    Overall, Lavorg aims to make it easier and more affordable for businesses of all sizes to access the best tech talent available, while also providing freelancers and independent contractors with access to a wider range of job opportunities and projects.

  58. Hasnain Haroon said:

    UKThrives can help! Here are key steps:

    Market Research: Understand demand, industry trends, and competition.
    Customer Validation: Gather feedback from potential customers.
    Business Plan Evaluation: Assess value proposition, target market, and profitability.
    Financial Analysis: Analyze costs, pricing, and revenue projections.
    Expert Advice: Seek guidance from mentors and advisors.

  59. Bella spa said:

    Thanks for

  60. sweety spa said:

    great thanks

  61. Ishani singh said:

    good blog

  62. Meena Singh said:

    Thanks good

  63. b2b spa said:

    wonderful service

  64. b2b spa said:

    it is the best blog

  65. Best Remote Team said:

    Since its inception in 2011, Best Remote Team, an offshore web and mobile app development company, is offering high-quality offshore software and app development services by facilitating businesses with the right and skilled technical brains. You can hire a remote team of dedicated developers with the right skills and attitude for your project. Hire dedicated developers after a thorough screening process and a personal interview to find the best match as per your expectations.

  66. priyasweety said:

    good at ya

  67. lishasingh said:

    nic eon iy

  68. lingam massage in pune said:

    nice mood on that

  69. BSNS Consulting said:

    At BSNS Consulting, we offer you unparalleled Business Advisory Services near me. Our team of expert consultants is dedicated to providing personalised solutions that drive growth and success for your business. Whether you’re a startup or an established company, our strategic insights and industry knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions and achieve your goals.

  70. BSNS Consulting said:

    BSNS Consulting offers top-notch Taxation Services in Pakistan, catering to businesses of all sizes. Our experienced tax experts navigate the complexities of the tax landscape, ensuring compliance and optimising your tax strategy. Trust us to handle your tax planning, filing, and reporting, so you can focus on growing your business with peace of mind.

  71. massage in bangalore said:

    good atd d

  72. We Buy Dead Stocks.. said:

    Experience the dynamic Dubai scrap market with We Buy Dead Stocks as your guide. We’ve streamlined the process of selling surplus materials, making it easy and lucrative for sellers. Join our community and make the most of your assets with the largest dead stocks buyer in the UAE.

  73. We Sell Dead Lots.. said:

    At Weselldeadlots, we bring you a wide range of high-quality home appliances in Dubai. Upgrade your living spaces with our selection of reliable and innovative appliances. From kitchen essentials like refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers to laundry appliances such as washing machines and dryers, we have everything you need to enhance your home. Our appliances are sourced from trusted brands known for their durability and performance.

  74. Tiptop-Einrichtung said:

    A Barber Herrenstuhl is a specific chair for male clients in a barbershop. This chair is intended to provide both comfort and functionality while the barber performs their services.

  75. iHost VPS said:

    Discover reliable USA VPS Hosting services. Benefit from the high-performance infrastructure, robust network connectivity, and low latency, all tailored to meet your hosting needs within the USA market.

  76. iHost VPS said:

    Discover reliable USA VPS Hosting services. Benefit from the high-performance infrastructure, robust network connectivity, and low latency, all tailored to meet your hosting needs within the USA market…

  77. CAvpshost said:

    The term Cheap Windows VPS $5 denotes a Virtual Private Server (VPS) running on the Windows operating system available at a low cost of $5. This option caters to users who require Windows-based hosting with limited financial resources. By providing a cost-effective solution, this Cheap Windows VPS allows individuals or businesses to deploy and manage applications, websites, or services on a Windows platform without a significant financial investment.

  78. CAvpshost said:

    CaVPS Host stands out for offering affordable Windows VPS Hosting Cheap solutions without compromising on quality. Our services are tailored to meet your budgetary constraints while ensuring high-performance hosting for your applications and data. Experience cost-effective yet powerful Windows VPS hosting with CaVPS Host.

  79. Vallee Real Estate said:

    Experience picturesque living in the enchanting community of Stonegate Maple Ridge, with Vallee Real Estate. Our top real estate agents guide you through homes for sale that offer an idyllic living experience. Trust us to make the process of finding your dream home in this serene locale both enjoyable and efficient.

  80. Ginkgo Retail said:

    Ginkgo Retail is an innovative domain poised at the intersection of streamlined ecommerce and efficient order management solutions. It serves as a dynamic platform catering to businesses seeking comprehensive, user-friendly systems for their operations. With a focus on seamless integration and accessibility, GinkgoRetail offers an advanced Ecommerce Order Management System, empowering businesses to navigate, track, and optimize their processes effortlessly. Its robust features include Ecommerce Order Management System PDF
    functionalities, ensuring clear and concise documentation throughout the entire order lifecycle. GinkgoRetail stands as a pioneering domain, redefining the standards of intuitive, tech-driven commerce solutions.

  81. technical24 said:

    Technical-24 is your one-stop solution for all technical and maintenance-related needs in UAE. From essential services like plumbing, electrical repairs, AC maintenance, water filter, home renovation, CCTV installation service and more. Our skilled professionals are ready to address your maintenance and technical needs with precision. We are giving our service all over UAE which is Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Ras al Khaima, Fujeirah, umm al Quwain.

  82. b2b spa said:

    Joispa is well known body to body massage centres in bangalore over many years with positive customer feedback. We have a team of certified and well trained therapists who can satisfy clients 100%.

  83. TipTop Enrichtung said:

    With our Friseurstuhl herren at TipTop-Einrichtung,experience the ultimate in comfort and style. As your go-to internet merchant, we supply premium hairdressing goods from leading brands, guaranteeing satisfaction and quality. With its elegant and utilitarian design, this Friseurstuhl herren will elevate your salon experience. Look through our inventory whenever you want to find the ideal addition for your salon.

  84. Vallee Real Estate said:

    In this vibrant city, Real Estate in New Westminster refers to a wide range of properties. There is a property to suit every taste and budget, ranging from contemporary condos to historic mansions. New Westminster provides a pleasant living environment with its picturesque riverfront, energetic communities, and practical conveniences. Discover your ideal house by looking through the many New Westminster real estate possibilities.

Leave a Reply