According to Startup Genome’s 2019 report, 1 in every 12 entrepreneurs are successful in building a business. That’s a slim win percentage. When pressed for why most startups fail, business owners cite lack of research as a primary cause.
Lack of research may translate to having no thorough familiarity with the target market, a fatal error that can result in failing to communicate the right message.
Having inadequate market knowledge can also lead to ineffective planning, another oft-cited reason for business failure. A business plan is a roadmap for the long-term, so without a solid foundation, there’s a high chance that a business would crumble at the first sign of trouble.
That said, it pays to have a comprehensive understanding of your industry, the market you’re in, and a genuine awareness of where your product or service fits in the equation. This will help you put your time, money, and resources in all the right places.
Here are the top things to consider if you’re looking to grow a new business or are trying to give a great idea a shot.
Your first point of business is determining whether or not there is a market for your product or service. Who are you selling to, and how can your product or service benefit them?
Understanding who your customers are will help you properly market your offers.
Invest in research to identify your potential target demographics. What are their buying habits? What similar products or services are they using?
Based on this information, create a buyer persona to direct all your sales and marketing efforts.
A business plan will help identify critical aspects of your operations, such as your target market, funding, goals, costs, and competitors.
Thinking ahead forces you to challenge your ideas, find potential pitfalls, and create contingencies where needed.
Of course, the best kind of plan is not a rigid plan but an agile one. One that is continuously revisited based on actual results. Such a plan will help you adapt well to sudden changes in the market.
What problem are you trying to solve, and how can your product or service help solve that problem? Your selling point will help you find funding, drive your messaging, and convince customers if your products or services are worth investing in.
A product or service is only as good as the people behind them. Many small businesses make the mistake of hiring people based solely on cost and not on experience and the value they can potentially bring to the company. In business, being frugal isn’t always cost-effective.
So invest in a good team. Assemble an organization of great talents who are coachable and can think long-term.
To do so, have a thorough employee vetting process in place. Depending on your company values, it may include reviewing previous employment history, training and certifications, and if necessary, checking prior criminal records and social media profiles.
The social media age is the age of personalization. These days, it’s hard to get away with staying generic.
To get noticed among the sea of small businesses offering similar products, you need an absolute branding strategy that you must maintain across all channels, from your web design to how your product looks after unboxing.
Find ways to customize—whether that means sending your repeat customers personalized emails or investing in brand-loyal custom packaging.
Marketing gets your product out there. Your previous investments and efforts will be nil if your marketing team does poorly in reaching your audience or getting the right message across.
Invest in a team that delivers results. If your small team can’t do it by themselves or don’t know the right way to go about it, hire an expert.
Nowadays, word of mouth just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s imperative to make noise—and the right one at that. So hire the best.
Your analytics is precious data. Crunching those numbers will tell you what works and what needs improvement. Essentially, it informs your business decisions.
Fortunately, there are tons of available tools you can use to gather and parse valuable business data.
Most of these tools seamlessly integrate with many existing e-commerce platforms and websites, and you can use them even without technical knowledge in statistics or programming.
Any new business owner will benefit from knowing what works from the get-go. This will help you focus on the right things and build a solid ground to launch or grow your business. Hopefully, knowing these considerations will help you get started on the right foot.