Thinking of starting a business, but not sure what you need to know? Begin your journey here with my basic guide to business start-ups. In my role as Editor for The Business Show and Business Startup, I have talked with literally thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs about what they really need to know, not what a business guru thinks they need to know. This series is the result. Today’s blog looks at why you need to understand your customer so that you steer your new business in the right direction from the beginning.
Don’t Make A Move Until You’ve Researched Your Market
Before starting any business, it’s a good idea to find out if anybody will want to buy what you’re selling. And if they don’t, now’s the time to make changes so that your product definitely has a market before you’ve incurred any costs. This is normally done by a combination of primary and secondary research.
This means talking to your potential customers about their spending habits, how they view your competition and what they think of your product. You can do this in person, over the phone, with a questionnaire, or online. Market stalls or pop-up shops can make for a good chance to speak with your customers about your product. Questions could include:
- What factors do you consider when purchasing this product or service?
- What do you like or dislike about similar products or services?
- What would you like to improve?
- What would you pay?
This analyses published data so that you can identify competitors, set benchmarks and identify target demographics. These will be your potential customers, defined by lifestyle, behaviour and age.
When you have a prototype product or service, show it to a focus group of around eight people and ask for their feedback. Then act upon any consensus. Find out what people would pay, but also what they see as the benefits and what their trigger to purchase would be.
This is when you should also find out about your competition, how customers perceive them and how you can ensure your business stands out from the crowd.
The more thorough your market research, the more informed your decisions will be. Not only will this help you steer your business in the right direction from the start, but it will also impress potential investors if you seek funding, encouraging them to see you as a safer risk.
NEXT: How To Write A Brilliant Business Plan
If you find the series – or any of the articles in it – useful, please share them via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog. I’d really appreciate it, thanks. If you need professional copywriting for anything from your first business plan to marketing collateral and press releases, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch today to find out how I could help your business.