One of the best ways to ensure your new business isn’t doomed to fall by the wayside is to test it in many specialised and rigorous ways.
Unfortunately just because you’re good at something or have always dreamed of being a successful businessperson doesn’t mean it will happen. Your business idea has to stand the test of time.
The most important thing to remember about every business is that it needs to solve a problem, or it needs to add something new to the market. Equally there needs to be sufficient demand for your product or service in the price range you’ve chosen. Your expertise, personality and ambition are unfortunately useless if your product or service simply isn’t required.
Start with Market Research
Market research is the beginning of every business, usually before the business has even begun. The key to succeeding in business is filling a gap in the market and it’s impossible to recognise this gap without conducting necessary research. You need to find your niche and honest feedback from your potential customers is the only way to adequately get an idea of whether your business will work.
Market research doesn’t need to be expensive or even particularly extensive, it just needs to generate answers to help you full recognise your target market and their needs. The worst thing you can do is canvas opinion from family and friends; they’re far too likely to tell you it’s a brilliant idea, even if, unfortunately, it isn’t. Canvassing those closest to you won’t give a genuine picture of the market’s need.
Set up an online survey, tweet some questions to your followers and speak to potential customers who don’t know you on a personal level face to face. Their opinions are the ones that count and most importantly find out whether your product or service is marketable at your price point from the point of view of the customer. If they wouldn’t buy it at your chosen price, you need to reconsider your pricing plan.
Don’t Forget your Competitors
If you’re carrying out quality market researchers you will also see the need to assess your rivals. Beginning with the web and carry out some simple searches on companies you may consider competitors. Look at their tactics and weigh up how you can do things differently. You can do the same by visiting like-minded businesses in your local area where possible.
You need to get a clear idea of how many people are already doing what you plan to do and then check their price points and yours in comparison. You don’t necessarily need to undercut them to be a success but if the market is already saturated it might not be the best idea to continue with a business in that area.
Honesty is the Best Policy
It might be your dream to start your own business but you need to be honest with yourself. If your market research shows that the odds are stacked against you consider carefully whether continuing is in your best interests. Feedback on prices is key to seeing whether you can continue with your idea and it’s also a great way of uncovering flaws in your business.
Finding out before you’ve committed too much time and money is the best way to ensure you can keep your business moving along the right lines or divert your attention to a new venture completely. In some cases a simple tweak here or there is enough whilst in others you’ll need to apply your entrepreneurial mind elsewhere.
Take the time to read through our guides for start-up businesses. There is plenty of advice and help available so don’t be frightened to take the plunge.
You can also join our Google+ Community “Startup in Britain” which is packed with help, resources and articles to get you started. Use it to get tips, advice and start building your network!