Everyday, (take it from me when I tell you this) business ideas spring up in the minds of people, old or young, male or female, tall or short, sane or … you get the picture, right? Good. When these ‘million dollar ideas’ are birthed, the birther (a word I just formed, shouldn’t be confused with Obama’s citizenship conspiracies) believes this is the one that will trump all others. The one that will shake the foundations of the business world. The one that will click.
Sometimes, they are correct. Many a time though, they are as wrong as a dead clock every other time of the day. Why? Because it takes more than just the juicy nature of an idea for it to get some good footing. It has to be juicy (yes! I said it), good, realistic, demanded, economical and appreciated. And the only way to know this is by planning ahead for your business.
So how do you know if your idea is any of these things or even all of them? Simple. Research. Wait, don’t run off just yet. It sounds like a scary word, I know. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s really not that difficult. I promise. It’s just a matter of setting out time to ask yourself and possibly other people a set of well-tailored questions and taking down the realistic answers.
So, what are these questions? Wouldn’t you like to know. Well, here goes. I have arranged the questions in categories, so you know what each question is targeting.
#1. TARGET MARKET
First off, who is your target market? This is the group of people in society that you will be channeling the bulk of your marketing efforts at. All your adverts, promotions, and hopefully, sales will involve this group of people. So for example, if you are planning to launch a women’s fashion magazine, it makes more sense to promote it in a hair salon than a soccer pitch. Hence, it is important to get a vivid picture of these people in your mind.
With that out of the way, here’s what you should define:
a. Are they males or females or both?
b. Are they married couples or single individuals, or a cross-section of both?
c. What is their age range?
d. Are they students or workers?
e. What level of schooling/what occupation?
f. Do they need your product/service?
g. How much of it and how often do they need it?
h. What are their likes, dislikes and other interests? (yes, it’s that personal)
i. How many of them are present in the locality you intend to run the business in?
At this stage, it’s important to already know what you are selling. You don’t want to approach the market with a product you know little or nothing about. People will ask you questions. You have to be prepared. Here’s how:
a. Exactly what is the need you intend to meet with your product?
b. Is it STRONGLY felt by the target market?
c. Does your product actually meet this need?
d. What are the features of your product?
e. What are the benefits of your product?
f. What will prompt people to buy your products, over the competition?
g. What are the pitfalls of your product?
h. Is it economical to produce on a large scale?
i. Will it be worth the time and money?
#3. CUSTOMERS’ OPINIONS
This is highly important. You need to hear from the horse’s mouth, else you might as well be deceiving yourself. So, get to meet your potential customers, ask them constructive questions about your product and the competition. There are several tools for this; surveys, interviews, questionnaires, even blog posts and social media. The choice is yours. Just get your customers talking, one way or the other. Questions include:
a. What exactly does this product do for you?
b. Does it satisfy that need for you?
c. What do you consider before you buy this product?
d. What alternative products will you consider?
e. What do you like and dislike about products like this already in the market?
f. How do you think this product can be improved?
g. What do you think about the current price and how much will you suggest it be sold for?
You will need to play a phony game of investigating your competition too. Most competitors have a trick or two up their sleeve. It’s your job to find out what it is. Do a proper analysis. No one is asking you to break into anybody’s facility though. Just be aware of what you are up against.
a. What are their strengths?
b. What are their weaknesses?
c. How much do their products/services cost?
d. How do your products compare to theirs?
e. What methods can you adapt from them?
These are the basics when it comes to doing research on a business idea. Remember, your answers have to be realistic. Don’t go building castles in the air. This is business.
Well, I can’t say I wrote it all. I believe there should be something you know that I don’t or probably you had an experience that relates to this topic or want to ask questions, just drop your comments right down there.
And do remember to share this to friends. Thanks. Till I see you Thursday, have a great week!