Almost everyone I speak to has an idea of a great business they could start.
There was a period of my life when I was being fed ideas from all around, people working in companies seeing the company missing target markets, producing the wrong products or just people with plans to create completely new products and opportunities.
Before you start it is important to learn what the size of your potential market so that you know if your company can support itself in the future.
Is there an interest among your potential clientele?
Is this something they need?
Is this something they want?
If you can find a product where people answer yes to all three of these questions, you have a potentially good business, if the market is large enough.
How to do market research
Start by identifying your target market, who are you selling to?
Make a demographic picture of your customer, age, gender, geographic location, income, family situation and so on.
Then explain them in the terms of their wants and needs, why would they want your product?
Why do they need it?
Survey your guesses
Now that you know who your customers are, ask them if they would be interested in the product you are thinking of creating.
You could start by using focus groups; gathering a group of people from your target market and have them discuss the potential product, its pros, cons, why they might want it, why not, pricing and so on.
Next I suggest you create a survey as a result of your focus groups discussion to see if what the focus group discussed and felt is what the larger market thinks.
If you can try to survey at least 100 people, you can do this by asking around town, by creating an internet survey or by finding a place where these people gather like a sports organization, a book club or a business association and ask if they could survey their members for you.
Your business plan
As a result from all this market research you will know a lot about your customers wants a needs, now is time to write your business plan.
This should be both done as a financial statement showing how much you will have to initially invest, what expenses you will have over time and how much you need to sell at what price to be profitable.
It should also include a marketing plan on how you expect to sell your product, how to become profitable, what your key selling points will be, how much you plan on working, and a timeline for when different parts of your plans will be implemented.
Once you have created your business plan all you need to do is get to work.
Keep your plan close, it will need to be updated many times as your business grows and how the reality of the world proves that your initial assumptions were incorrect.
The fact that you have a plan though will give you something to update, something to work from and a frame of reference when you evaluate new opportunities and ideas.
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