Starting a small business requires tremendous time and effort. There are business plans, budgets, projections, market research, hiring staff and acquiring licenses. What most small businesses don’t realize is the sheer amount of market research required to reach their intended audience. In fact, many small businesses blindly open without due diligence, solid market research or innovative target marketing strategies. These small businesses are playing rush and roulette with their investment and brand. We all have come across awesome small businesses sitting idle without a strong customer base. You know your favorite corner bar or local coffee shop.
The fact remains there is much promise for today’s small business owner properly using technology, networking and marketing. The Internet and social media marketing allow small business to compete nationally or even worldwide. The key to success is understanding the make-up of marketing, the Internet and networking. Here are some serious points for small businesses to consider.
Have you done your homework?
Many business owners are so driven by their concept and budgeting they forget the basics. Do your homework! Research the market, location, products and consumer needs. Market research provides a detailed picture of the current market, trends and key success factors required.
Focus on gaining competitive advantage in your target market.
Once market research is accomplished find consumer trends or unmet needs. Tailor your business to unmet needs and now your business has a competitive advantage. The goal of competitive advantage is discovering values your business delivers unmatched by competitors. The more advantages the better.
Focus on niche marketing.
What is your company’s niche? In this day and age companies boasting specialization skills are top performers. Find out what your company does great and become the best. Instead of providing a broad array of services focus on one and perfect it. Niche market that specialization and watch sales skyrocket.
Write a list of your key success factors.
Key success factors are necessary steps to reaching business goals and milestones. Write a detailed list of marketing, budgeting and research key success factors. Use this list to formulate strategic success steps in each area.
Use technology to the max.
Take classes at your local community college to truly grasp using social media marketing to your advantage. Classes are reasonable and worth the time and investment. Don’t let your fear of technology hinder your business profits.
So, you’ve done your homework but forget the most important step – NETWORKING. A good friend told me the key to success is networking. He sure was right! Networking builds relationships, puts a face to the name and enlarges your circle. What good is research if no one knows your name or brand? Although you may feel uncomfortable at first get out there and network. Try networking at socials, happy hours, meet-ups or conferences.
Change your thinking.
I learned a very important fact in business school. Profitable businesses typically research supply & demand, markets and consumer trends before business conception. Analyzing market research allows companies to discover consumer demands. Afterwards, products and services are crafted based on market trends. Design your business and marketing plans based on supply & demand or niche specializations. Remember small businesses the sky is the limit if you do your homework first.