In Shortcut to Internet Millions Jeff Paul says you can run surveys or run contests or do little popularity type tests and find out and weigh one subject against another. For example, say you were going to create an information product and you want to know which one has the best potential for sales. With a very little bit of investment, you could write several small reports that are about those topics. Now to determine which one is more popular, you can give them away free on-line, or you can run classified ads or run smaller ads in ezines, or write articles about them. You can actually write the same article that was generic enough, but at the end one time you gave one free report and the next time you run the article you give the other free report. And if you keep good records, you'll all of a sudden see which report was being downloaded or being requested more often, and that would give you an idea which route to go.
You can adapt this and use it in a lot of different ways to test and do research very inexpensively. In Shortcut to Internet Millions Jeff Paul says if you pay very close attention to your feedback and the questions and comments people make, you'll really be pointed in the right direction as far as what idea you should pick over the other one. You'll find out what problems they want solved, what concerns or worries they have, and they'll tell you all kinds of things. So if you can come up with a product or service that then offers solutions to those problems and questions they have, then you may be starting out on a winner.
If you continue to follow this plan, almost all of your ideas will be at least profitable, some more so than others. In Shortcut to Internet Millions Jeff Paul says you can encourage this feedback from people by doing surveys, by email, or through forms on your Internet site, and just simply either make your email address available for them to reply to or have them click on a submit button and your feedback will be on its way. Be sure you keep all of this feedback just in case it doesn't fit into what you're doing now and you go on to create something else, you may come back later on and still use that research and those articles for a future product.