A while back I came across this snowboard workout tool that was trying to get funding on one of the many Kickstarter-like websites:
It’s basically a snowboard strapped to a balance beam type thing with resistance bands connected to it.
Honestly my first impression was this product will never sell well… and right now I see nothing to change my mind as the project isn’t anywhere close to being funded. As much as I admire the entrepreneurial spirit, this thing is quite obviously a bad idea.
And if it’s a bad idea, why am I writing about this? Well, I know a lot of you guys who read this blog are searching for ways to make snowboarding part of your job and income and I’m worried one of you might follow the ‘Snowbat’ strategy and end up wasting your time and money.
So let’s talk about why this snowboard product is a bad idea so none of you guys end up down this same path.
1) He doesn’t know his market
If you’re going to create a snowboard product, you better know your market like the back of your hand. What are their biggest frustrations? How do they think? Are they looking for solutions? Does your product solve that frustration?
If he did this one step alone he would know that his snowboard fitness product was already in trouble. He’s targeting the average snowboarder that snowboards 1-6 days a year. Most of them don’t give a dam about fitness for their short ski holiday.
And even those who care about fitness already have their needs met by one of 5000 other fitness products. A simple balance board or bosu ball and some weights/kettlebells already replaces everything this guy is trying to do with his product.
It’s not that his product doesn’t work, it’s rather that there is no need for his product and no one actively looking for a solution that doesn’t already have a ton of home fitness/gym solutions that do the same job.
2) He never asked the right people
The problem with most of these guys who start companies around bad ideas is they don’t see if people will put their money into buying the product before wasting all that time and money on the product.
He could have easily built a few of these, gone to a local gym at a ski resort and held a free class. Then after the class he could have taken feedback and seen how many people were interested in pre-ordering one of these or paying for a weekly gym class to use one of these ‘Snowbats’.
Right there he could figure out if there was enough interest because if you can’t get gym rats in a ski town to buy your crazy specialised and unnecessary snowboard fitness product then you’re not going to have much luck elsewhere.
Unfortunately, he probably listened to a few friends and family who thought it was a ‘cool idea’ and is now wasting his time and money trying to make this product into a profitable project.
The bottom line
The thing is this guy didn’t do the wrong thing by having this idea. However, instead of testing it and understanding that his target market doesn’t want or need his product, he just jumped head in without proper research or understanding.
He probably got a few people saying “Awesome idea! I’d buy it” and jumped the gun. Unfortunately for him, a few people does not make a profitable company, especially once you factor in paying yourself for your time invested.
I actually think the guy behind this ‘Snowbat’ seems like a nice guy and his entrepreneurial spirit should be admired. However, he’s going to waste a lot of time, money and effort that could be spent on a better idea.
The key to remember is you can’t educate or force people to want your product (unless you’re an insanely talented marketer or have an insanely huge ad budget). They need to already have the problem and want a solution and whatever snowboard product you have better be an awesome match.
Nothing wrong with ideas. I’ve had my share of bad ideas too. However, it’s important to test your ideas and find the ones that fit an actual ‘need’ in the snowboard market.
The difference between people who have ideas that work and those who don’t is that the ones who succeed were willing to fix, adapt or even throw out ideas that were bad. They didn’t blindly follow through when the snowboard market told them it was a bad idea.
Knowing how to test and stop following a bad idea is as much a part of being successful as coming up with the right idea.