This post is the first in a eight part series on how to prepare your business for success in 2014. Visit www.kcsourcelink.com/blog to read the full series and learn how to write a business plan, make your customers happier, make your business legal, market your business, improve your personal and business credit, boost your website’s visibility and finance your business.
Taking on a new venture is scary. Everyone knows there are no guarantees in life; however, there are a few simple steps to take before opening a business that will increase the likelihood of success.
Do You Have What It Takes?
The first step when preparing for a new venture is to look at you, the owner of a new business. Are you the right person for this specific business –do you have the skills necessary for this industry? What is your background, where are your passions, do you have the personal traits an entrepreneur must possess? Below is a brief checklist of areas to think about as a prospective business owner to make sure you are the right person for the business.
Is Your Idea Feasible?
Now that you have looked internally, it is time to do an external assessment by conducting research. The first area to think about is the industry; determine trends, conditions and opportunities. Pull together facts and figures for sales and profitability, the impact technology is having and will have for your business, determine legal and regulatory issues for the industry, economic conditions and geographic or seasonal factors.
When performing market research, it is important to analyze your market segments – very specifically define your target audience.
- Are you going to target males or females?
- What income class will your business aim to please?
- How old is your target audience?
- What do your target customers want to buy
- Where and when are they buying?
- How or why are they buying?
Think about your target market’s emotions and determine the problem you are solving for them. Once you have fully defined your target market, determine the size of the target market – are there enough people in the target to make your business profitable? Also how much is it going to cost to reach the audience?
Next, a prospective business owner should investigate the competition. Who are your competitors – think about direct and indirect competition. Think about where your competitors are located and determine their strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, what are your competitors’ products and services? Market Analysis
Once you have finished your market research, you will be able to evaluate the Four P’s:
- Product – address customer expectations, needs and problems and highlight the features and benefits your product provides to fill voids and solve a problem.
- Price – determine the basis for price by knowing your customers and competition – develop a pricing strategy.
- Place – evaluate your distribution methods and determine a location.
- Promotion – identify potential strategies and costs for reaching your market. Also determine a company image
There are several organizations that can assist with market research and feasibility studies. Use your region’s Resource Navigator, to find contact information for your local chamber of commerce, economic development council, local libraries, trade publications, U.S. Bureau of the Census and many more!
Content contributed by Jenny Nepper, KCSourceLink. KCSourceLink is a proud affiliate of U.S.SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.