And yet it's surprising how many people don't, or not to the level of adequacy that will see them survive more than 12 months and their products end up in the bargain bin or worse, closing down. Just because you've asked your friends whether your product is a great idea, does not mean that there is a strong market for it. So before you part with your hard earned cash, time and effort you need to consider all options before taking your product to market.
I am amazed at the number of times I come across businesses who have produced a product or service for a market place, without having done their homework first. You need to carry out the necessary research to understand how many other people are doing this? What is their pricing strategy? What is unique about the product? How easy is it to replicate? The list goes on. Running your own business is tiring and can be a 24 hour job, or it will certainly eat into your weekends and time that you would usually spend with your family, especially in the first year when you are launching and establishing. However, it is so very rewarding. So if you are going to invest so much time and effort into your own business, here are some tips to consider before you take the plunge.
1. You need to carry out a full competitor analysis that includes online. You can't assume that there is no competition because you've never seen it for sale in a shop, or that there is a shop like the one you want to open that is local to you.
We operate in a truly global market place these days, thanks to the vast number of online market places and selling platforms and the number of money transfer providers that make it easy to sell globally. That means that you need to be looking at all avenues before you commit.
2. You need to be looking not only at the here and now but also thinking about future trends. What are consumers wants and needs and how is this likely to change over time?
3. Do you really know your customer? Who is your target market? Where are most customers purchasing their items from? What are they buying and why? If it is online, then already you are looking at high barriers to entry if you choose to take a shop, with overheads and more bills. Why would a customer choose to come to your shop, rather than carry out a quick purchase online? Why would they see any value in spending time coming to your store? Have you considered starting out online first and then turning to bricks and mortar. We all know the story of Amazon investing in a bricks and mortar building (their book shops), to create a 'high street' presence, however it is in no doubt that the future of the high street looks sketchy. However, if you are certain that you can get them come across your threshold, you need to make sure you communicate these in your marketing. Furthermore you need to consider a proper segmentation of that customer base, to understand what might be impacting their purchasing behaviour, or where they may be in their purchasing cycle.
4. How will you carry out your market research? It is an expensive investment as done correctly, it can be incredibly powerful and make a significant difference to future sales. What can you do yourself first?
5. Invest in the right type of marketing but don't go overboard. One of the common challenges we come across at so what consulting, is that clients have been spending a lot of money on social media ads, with a disappointing return. Are you comfortable with IT and design? You might be able to save yourself some money without getting a web design agency on board by designing the site yourself. Once you have been running for a while, then it's time to consider investing in the site further. It's also a good way to test what works and doesn't. Providers such as Wix, Square Space, or even domain name registration pages offer website build services like Go Daddy or 123reg. However, be really honest with yourself because there is no point in designing a website that has too much written content, or just looks bad. That will reflect poorly on your brand.
6. A social media page is not a replacement for a website. Social pages are a compliment, or a vehicle to drive traffic through to your website. Your website is your shop window, this is where the magic happens and conversions to sale, social media cannot replace that for you on the same scale. There are social media like ladders that you can use to grow your following on social media, and of course the ability to buy followers (fake accounts) but they are not necessarily an engaged audience and that is what you need, in order to get them to convert.
Of course there are many more things to consider before you set up your own business, but these are some of our top tips to consider. Have a look at our website to see how we may be able to help you manage you before your launch your new product, service or business. Or contact us to arrange a free 1 hour consultancy discussion.