Have you been driving along, or out shopping or on the train home and had a brilliant idea for a business, product or service? You are not alone! Creative aware people can have ideas as easy as falling out of bed!
But before you go haring off to the bank/website developer/intellectual property lawyer, how do you know that there is a market for your business? Having the idea is one thing, and having the drive to set it up another, however these all these things are within your control. And at the end of the day, you are not going to be buying your product. Other people are, and it’s wise to consider not only if there is a market for your business, but how big it is.
Because if you don’t, your business may fail. Or worse, it may limp along almost-but-not-quite being a success leaving you feeling that you are just not clever enough to make it.
Test Marketing for your Business
Large companies invest a lot of money in product and service development, and then even more in test marketing. Focus groups and regional test marketing is fine if you have the resources – and if your forecast says you will make a great return on the investment. Most women don’t start businesses like this though, we are known for conservative start up’s, that actually are still in business 3 years later.
So what do you do to find out if your business idea has not only legs, but ones wearing Louboutins?
Here are my 3 Top Tips for Market Research for Wise Business Women:
- Don’t ask your friends. Now this may seem completely contrary to what we see in the movies: women at a certain time in her life, has fab business idea and shares it at lunch with her friends. But the reality is that unless your friends are your market audience, they are not going to see it like your market audience. Plus, their emotion may get in the way: either telling you gloom and doom stories of failure to try to protect you or going over the top with their praise. Best avoided.
- Do get online. Join communities, social networking sites and don’t immediately ask: listen and read. Find books on your subject and read the online reviews. Search on what people are saying, feeling and thinking about your business area. Build up an emotional profile of your ideal customer. What are they really wanting from your idea? What need or problem do they need solving? This works for consumer and business sectors. Once you have enough research, measure it against your idea, then start to ask people for feedback.. And listen again.
- Don’t be put off by criticism. Yes I know what I am saying is listen, however learn the difference between feedback, and criticism. Not everyone likes success. Be selective about who you listen to. You can’t please all the people; you just need to please enough with your product or service.
Traditionally companies launched fully formed. Now the smart companies begin with Beta. You can too. Start your business small, and develop your idea as you sell and get feedback from real customers. Make feedback part of the sales process. Investing a good website, but not too big. Grow it, and your product and service offering, as you learn.
Most important of all, do learn. You may own the idea when you start out, but the most successful companies ‘give’ the brand or the product to its customers to feedback on how it should develop. When they own it, they become your advocates. And that’s when the magic starts to happen.
Sue coaches people in business, specialising in providing life transforming, business making, and performance improving solutions: helping individuals achieve personal contentment and professional success
Coaching Business People.