There can be conflicting advice here, and all of it will carry convincing arguments. The general rule of thumb is that if the market is not ready for your particular product then drop it as it will have a snowflakes chance in hell of succeeding. This is the sheep model.
On the flip side, being innovative can steer the market direction, making previous product incarnations obsolete. This is the innovation or trend setting model.
There are, of course, opportunity costs that need to be considered with both these models; in the case of the innovation model, those opportunities lost by not servicing the mainstream market, and the sheep model by not taking a chance and chasing higher margin edgy work.
It almost seems that doing one will kill the other; like there is no right answer. In actual fact, the correct answer stares at you every day. Next time you brush your teeth, ask the chap looking back at you; how much risk are you prepared to take – what is your risk appetite?
Many will see themselves as having a high-risk appetite, after-all this is why they are in business and not working for “the man”. However, before hastily committing to a high-risk path, ask yourself if you re passionate enough to risk the house, to risk your family’s comfort. If you cannot, then your risk appetite may not be a high as you originally thought. Time to peg back your risk expectations.
I am not suggesting for a second that you should be totally risk adverse. I know many people who will not take a step unless all risks have been eliminated – and that’s fine if they are comfortable with that. I also know of people who will happily bet a week’s wages on red, or on 23. I think that a safe place to be would be somewhere in the middle; where all known practical variables have been considered, and the risks associated with these variables are either mitigated or accepted. Then take your shot (or not).
Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.