Conducting market research is the best way to validate your business idea prior to launch.
The research you conduct in the early phases of your business can save you time and money allowing you to prepare to establish yourself in your market by knowing what customers want.
Market research is often overlooked by small businesses, as it can seem like a daunting and complex process. This research can help you understand your niche and why your product will be attractive to potential clients. Not doing market research can lead to businesses launching a product that isn't well received by potential customers, costing you time and money.
Listen to what your customers are saying to ensure they embrace your product or services. Take the time to ask the following questions to validate your ideas before you invest in the product or service.
1. Who are your customers?
Clearly define who you clients are and who will benefit the most from your products or services.
Be specific when defining your target audience. If you have a design business it can be beneficial to focus on one particular industry, enabling your business to stand out as the leader of your field within that niche. Narrowing your niche, also allows you to refine your marketing activities to speak directly to a certain customer.
2. What are your customers looking for?
Know what products your customers are looking for. Marketing high-end products in a niche that has no or low overheads will make it difficult to convince clients to invest in your product offering. Instead think about targeting an industry with higher overheads where businesses are familiar with spending a bit more on products or services.
Listen to the feedback your early customers give you about your business. Frequent adjustments to your products or services based on client feedback can ensure your business remains relevant to your target audience as you grow.
3. Where is your client?
Finding the most cost effective way to reach your clients is vital for small business owners. Take the time to know how to target your ideal clients when developing your marketing budget. If your target it too broad you will often get low quality leads with low conversion rates.
Although I advertise online, my most successful marketing activity is an ad in a trade publication. This simple classified ad actually gets results, look beyond the obvious ways to speak to your clients to find a platform that speaks directly to your perfect client.
4. When can you engage with your audience?
Timing is everything when you are getting the word out about your new business. Find where and when you clients will be looking for your product or service.
The wrong timing often means your message will be ignored, losing the opportunity to connect with your customer.
5. Why will you stand out?
Ask yourself why your product or service will stand out in your market. Give your customers a reason to come to you by understanding the real benefits of what your customers will get from your business.
Know what your unique market position is by knowing the alternative solutions in your market. Understand what your competitors are doing well and not so well to allow you to sell the strengths of your business.
Market research makes a difference
Completing market research is important for all new small businesses. By making the time to connect with what your audience is actually looking for you can ensure your product/ services is meeting their needs.
Ask the right questions in the beginning to ensure your new venture will relate to your clients and grow your business.
Alyce started her current business at 21, she now works full time on her consulting business while venturing into other business models. Alyce shares her stories on Newstability.com helping young entrepreneurs get started in business