Why do so many people go from being employed one day and then self-employed the next and wonder why their businesses fail?

Starting a business might look very easy, but there is one area that really needs to be addressed before starting: research!

Researching the market is usually one of the very first things that a potential business owner should do before starting a business. You need to be able to identify your potential customers and find out the type of goods and services that they are looking for, also to recognize how many customers would be interested in the goods and services that you are offering. Another requirement is to ensure that your customer requests are continuously met. Other areas that are just as important are:

  1. The demographics of your target market;

  2. Identify where potential customers currently purchase their products and services;

  3. Find out what they actually want concerning value for money;

  4. Conduct a survey of the target market to find what is important for them i.e. price, convenience, brand, quality etc;

  5. Identify the latest trends for this sector.

A key point is to know who your competitors are; what are their strengths and weaknesses; also what opportunities or threats do they pose. You should also:

  1. Identify businesses that offered same or similar services/products;

  2. Identify various price range(s) with products/services;

  3. Find out how long the businesses have traded and if there is anything that you could learn from them. As the businesses are established they will have a proven track record.

Always remember that the services and products that you offer must be of good quality and meet the needs of your potential customers. Ensure that you have identified a gap in the market and you can demonstrate that you have a strong competitive edge.

Always guarantee that your customers receive value for money. Consider introducing both a loyalty and a referral scheme that would ensure that your customers continue to receive on-going value for money.

The next stage is for you to plan how you’ll promote your business services or products. There are several options to consider, including social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter), newspapers, journals and websites.

Don’t forget to analyse the information collated to your potential business clients’ buying and spending patterns; the best places to advertise and where to connect with your target market.

Finally, make sure that you capture all the evidence that you have acquired, along with the statistics, to back-up the findings of your research.

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