Steps to Starting a Small Business – Market Research

Getting enough information on your target market of potential customers is vital to starting a business that will produce income. Making guesses on what the customer really wants will not bring you very far, so it’s important to do some digging and get the answers directly from them through market research which is an important steps to starting a small business.

Some of the following questions to ask in order to device effective strategies:

  • Who is going to buy your product or service?
  • What kind of people are they? (buyer, influencer or end user)
  • How big is the market? (Competitor’s annual sales would give you an estimate)
  • How will market trends going to affect your business?
  • Does your business has any unique selling point?
  • Is the need for your product or service currently not being met?
  • Is the market already saturated?

Why do it?

You will not be able to sell something or services that has no demand. Knowing what the market is looking for and so that you can present it in a new twist, drives the need for a market research. The advantage of small businesses is that they are close to their customer and can easily get information on their purchasing habits.

How to do it?

Most of the big companies spend huge amounts of money on elaborate surveys from renowned researchers to determine if their products or services will appeal to customers at a price they are willing to pay. But for small business owners on a tight budget, there are other means to collect the key data needed without having to spend a fortune.

3 ways to collect information:

  • Get business school students to collect data at the mall.
  • Look for financial data and statistics in local library.
  • Join trade association not only to access market research they have conducted but do the networking there as well.

Do I need any ongoing market research while running the business?

Yes, this is how you gather information to evolve and adapt to the changes in market trends.

3 types of methods:

  • Keep a close watch on what your competitor is doing.
  • Install point-of-sales software to track sales or services trend.
  • Put up customer suggestion box where they can write suggestions.

Every business needs to conduct market research, it is a crucial steps to starting a small business, and tight budgets are no excuse for omitting a research plan. By starting out with some easily accessible resources, you can begin to develop better marketing strategies that can position you for market growth.

Small Business – SEO Basics – Where Do You Begin Promoting Your Business Online?

Many small business make the mistake of beginning with their website when they want to begin promoting their business online. For those who are inexperienced, this would seem the logical place to start. Unfortunately, just having a website is not enough. You must be able to get traffic to the website in order to do business online.

Ideally, you would have consulted with an SEO specialist before having your site built. For most, that is not the case. There is a great deal to learn when it comes to how search engines work and how to get buying traffic to your website. You do not have that kind of time to spend. The logical solution is to hire someone with experience to help you along the way. It does not have to cost a great deal but you do need to spend money on your website to get the full potential from it and to bring your website in front of your prospective buyers.

One of the first things your web consultant will want to do is define who your target market is. This is done through keyword research and market analysis. Once your market is clearly defined and the choice keywords selected, you will be able to make the little changes to your website and all of your promotion materials that will bring traffic to your website. More traffic means more sales.

In a few months, once your website begins to build traffic, your consultant will be able to help you monitor the progress of your success. She will take the time to put together a monthly report so you will be able to see what is working and what is not. Once you see trends of success, you can then tailor your efforts and streamline them into spending more time on what is working and less time on what is not.

Because search engines and traffic trends are ever changing, your SEO consultant will be a valuable asset to your business. Their business depends on staying on top of these trends so you can be sure your website promotion campaigns are as current and effective today as they were in the past. You are busy running your business. You do not have time to spend staying on top of another industry, namely SEO.

Your SEO consultant will take the time to work with you to find a solution within your budget. Even small business, or should I say, especially small business, can benefit from a helping hand when it comes to SEO. This service is not reserved for big businesses. Who knows, when you start getting enough traffic to your website, your small business may just turn into a big business.

Taking Advantage of the Trends of 2012 in Your Small Business

Well, as a former businessperson in retirement I am often contacted by a small business startups and asked questions about how best to do business in such a dismal economy. In fact generally the questions are accompanied by excuses and complaints. Indeed, just as the economy presents challenges, hardships, and crisis for small businesses, I would submit to you on a reciprocal side it also unveils excellent opportunities at every turn. Indeed I’d like to talk to you about this for a moment if I might.

Is it possible to take advantage of the economic downturn and slow growth economic trends? Is it possible to take advantage of other cost-saving strategies to improve efficient marketing in 2012? Yes it is, and let’s go ahead and talk about this for a moment

Slow Growth Economy

A slow growth economy means your competition is not expanding as fast as it normally would. It also means if you’re starting a new business you’re going against businesses that are well-established, but ones which are also experiencing challenges with cash flow and have been beaten down. If you come into the market hot and heavy, they may not be able to compete, they don’t have anything left in them.

Consumers – Low Cost High Volume Strategies

Gaining market share very rapidly in a downturn economy is pretty easy if you use a low-cost high-volume strategy to gain market share. This also creates an abundance of referrals, and a very large customer base extension to perhaps market segments you would normally not have.

Inexpensive and Over Qualified Labor

Downturns in the economy also mean that fewer people are employed, and that means some top-notch people who are over qualified will be willing to work for you at half the salary. This means you can put together a significant team of experienced employees. When the economy is cooking along very nicely, you will be able to do this.

Deals on Supplies, Inventory, Vendor Assistance

When times are tough and other small businesses are hurting, that means your vendors, suppliers, and those who sell your inventory to you are willing to make deals, give you better terms, and offer you assistance. That’s free for the taking, and it will lower your costs, allowing you to pass those lower costs onto consumers to grow your business.

Low Cost Loans

Right now interest rates are at an all-time low, and if you can qualified to get a business loan, the amount in which you’ll have to pay back later in interest is quite reduced. If you can get the loan, this becomes an advantage to your business. Your competition may not be able to get the loans because they cannot prove their cash flow is adequate enough considering the hardship they’ve had going through during the last recession.

Deals on Business Location Leases

Lastly, right now some retail centers have extra unoccupied space, and they are willing to do deals to fill out the spaces, improve their own revenue, and allow them to keep those business buildings from being foreclosed on. This gives you the advantage in negotiating a good deal on a lease with excellent more favorable terms well below what your entrenched competitors are already paying.

Therefore I ask that you stop complaining, and start using your mind and thinking about how to take advantage of the current economic crisis. Please consider all this and think on it.