Steps To Success For Your Business
It’s certainly a great lifestyle to be able to run a home-based business but did you realize that over 60 percent of small businesses fail within the first 12 months? That might be discouraging but there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success and with a little forethought and planning, as well as lots of market research, you can give it your best shot.
Come up with a good idea
Obviously, the first thing you need to do is to come up with a good business idea and typically business opportunities will come under the following categories:
Tapping into an existing market with an existing product or service
Offering an existing product or service to a new market
Offering a new product or service within an existing market
Offering a new product or service to a new market
The final category — a new product to a new market — is where your innovative imagination can really fly. In fact any new products or services have great potential if you can find the right market for them. Sometimes inventors and creative types can get so carried away with their ideas that they fail to do enough market research to find out if there is actually a need for their creation. If nobody wants what you have to offer, then you cannot make a business out of it. So the first rule is to come up with an idea for a product or service that people actually want — preferably something that solves a problem or fulfills a need.
You can get inspiration from almost anywhere. A good starting place is to brainstorm some ideas and write a list of all the things you are good at, know something about or have specialist skills for. A good piece of advice for any business idea is that it should be something you have a passion for or a strong interest in, otherwise you’ll run out of steam when the going gets tough. Also, everyone is looking for an expert in their field and it is much easier to build credibility as an expert if your business is based on something where you already have a strong knowledge base.
Check out the competition
One of the easiest ways to check out your competitors these days is to do an Internet search with some keywords and find out if companies out there are offering something similar. Some markets are more saturated than others, for example weight loss and health and beauty are huge industries with a mind-boggling level of competition. For a newcomer it would be extremely difficult to break into this market without something very unique on offer.
Hopefully from your brainstorming session, you should have a long list of ideas, so keep checking out the competition for each of these ideas until you find a gap in the market. Congratulations if you manage to find this gap — it doesn’t end here. Ask yourself why there is a gap — is it because there is no demand for products in this category? One way to find out is to do a keyword search using a site such as Word Tracker. If people are searching for something and not finding it you could have the basis of a solid business.
If you aspire to run a traditional bricks and mortar business, start with an Internet search because most businesses these days have a website, but also look in the high street and in local directories to find your competitors.
Once you’ve settled on a great idea and discovered your gap in the market and ascertained that there is actually a demand for your product or service, you need a really good business plan. This should be a working document rather than an academic exercise because any business plan is something you should continually be referring to and tweaking — it is your roadmap to success.
In your plan, you need to have some robust strategies to enable you to find your customers and present your business in a relevant and professional way. Work on your first impression, whether this is an advert, marketing leaflets, website or your premises, because your customers will judge you within seconds — make sure it is a favorable first impression.
Think about pricing and remember that simply beating your competitors on price is not always the best way to go. Prospects will judge your products and services by their perceived worth, just like designer products will command a higher price than the exact same thing in cheaper packaging from an unknown brand. Think carefully about where you pitch your products in the marketplace.
Treat your customers well
Today’s business is all about customer service and building a relationship of trust with your customers. Aim to build a list of loyal subscribers and customers who will recommend you and buy from you again in the future. Consider how often and by which route you will contact them — a regular newsletter is a popular and effective way to stay in touch and build that all-important customer relationship.
Always treat your customers well with great customer service and quality products and services — aim to be the best in your field and you can’t fail to attract business.