This is a guest post by James Adams. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
New businesses need care, loving, and attention to grow. Before you set up shop, you need to research the market and examine the trends. Discover the relevance and importance of your idea before investing your life’s savings. Here are ten tips for researching that new business.
1. Planning: Before you open the doors to your new business, have a plan for success in place. What is your exit strategy? Are you planning on running the business forever, or are you planning to sell your built company to a competitor? Do you intend to keep your business small? Would you rather grow your business to gigantic proportions? What defines your company’s success? Do you want to quickly divorce yourself from the sales process and establish a new business?
2. Define your business idea: What are the key features of your business? What products and services does it offer? Focus on the specifics of the idea. If you want to sell information products, what kinds of information products do you sell? How do you plan to make money off of this idea? Many businesses fail because they do not adequately distill the idea into a salable product. Are you a warehouse of information products, or do you have something exclusive to your business? State your idea as succinctly as possible.
3. Talk with friends and family: Many underestimate the value of friends and family in the formulation of a business plan. They might not be part of your industry, but they can offer unique insights which are related to their own experiences. What do they suggest? After hearing about your new business, would they buy your company’s products and services? Where can you change your ideas? A different set of eyes can be extremely fruitful for the direction of your new business.
4. Who are your clients?: After you have fully defined your company’s products, decide your target demographic. What kinds of clients do you want? Are you selling to individuals or businesses? It is easy to say that you want to sell your product to the planet, but not everybody needs what you are selling. Does your business cater to recent graduates? Soccer moms? Are your products and services geared toward a market which was heretofore untapped? If you have a manufacturing business, in what stores would you expect to see your products?
5. Look at the competition: Now that you have defined what you are selling and to whom you are selling, you need to find out who is already providing that product to the market. A quick search will yield the results you desire. When listing the companies which sell your product, think about the factors which make you different from them. Examine their products and pricing structure. What kinds of guarantees are offered? Identify your primary and secondary competition for each of your products.
6. Discover your unique selling proposition: What factors set you apart from the competition? Are you offering the same services for a cheaper price? Do you give your customers a better warranty? Instead of one pricing plan, are you going to offer several? If you invented the red widget, use that as your selling point. If you are selling services, what benefits are available? Some companies pride themselves on offering the most of a product. Others thrive on scarcity. Still others attempt to be the cheapest within the field. If you are the best rather than the cheapest, what is that unique thing which makes you the best?
7. Demand for your product: Is your product being talked about in publications? Are you bringing a new innovation to the industry? Is the market saturated with suppliers of your product? Look at Google Trends to find out about the latest and greatest in your arena. What is on the minds of your potential customers? This will help you pinpoint your marketing strategies.
The success of your business depends on the strength of your research. What sets you apart from the other suppliers? How do you define your own success? What steps do you plan to take? Your business flourishes when you have a concrete plan of attack.