Is Your Business Idea Feasible?
by Danna Yuhas, Market Impact
- Is the decision to buy made by an individual, as a family unit, or by committee?
- What role(s) does each person play? (i.e. influencer, gatekeeper, ultimate decision maker, coach.)
Start-up company owners and entrepreneurs often tend to overlook market research, which is a critical factor in providing a solid foundation on which to successfully build a business. If youâ€™re like most small business owners, you know lots about the SUPPLY side of your business ľ that is your products and services ľ and you can describe them in infinite detail. Your entrepreneurial passion drives you to make things happen, in spite of the obstacles you face. But how much do you really know about the DEMAND side of your business? That is, sustainable demand. Because without sustainable demand, there is no long-term business! At the very least, you should be able to answer the following questions relating to demand and the factors influencing it: 1. How would you describe your best potential customers? 2. What are your customersâ€™ needs and hot buttons? What benefits and results do they seek? 3. How are purchasing decisions made and who is involved either directly or indirectly?
- Test market your business idea by surveying 100 potential customers.
Ask good questions. Establish trust and credibility, and discuss their problems or issues.
- What are they doing well now?
- What would they like to do better?
- How is the problem impacting their business?
- What is their time frame for solving the problem?
- Do they have a budget?
- What are they willing to pay?
- What are the repercussions of not solving the problem?
"Real Customers" will answer your questions. If your survey results are good, the market is real.
- What are they doing well now?
- Read local and daily newspapers, magazines, and trade journals. They will provide you with current business and industry information. What is the media saying about your customers and your competitors?
- Use the resources, libraries, directories, and networking opportunities of the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade, or a Professional or Industry Association. Talk to industry lobby groups.
- Use government resources such as the Economic Development Office in your area, Statistics Canada, and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
- There are many useful books, directories, and other resources available in the Small Business Help Centres. Contact Ailene Holder, Town of Markham (905) 475-4890.
- Use the Internet. Useful web sites include Industry Canada at http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/engdoc/main.html for business sector and economic analysis; and Statistics Canada at http://www.statcan.ca/start.html for demographic, social, socio-economic and economic data.
- Find customers and competitors in Telephone, City, Trade and Financial Directories.
- Talk to suppliers, distributors, agents, brokers, and other distribution channel members. They can provide you with inside knowledge on the industry, the major players, trends and opportunities.
- Talk to competitors. Observe how they treat you and others. Are they knowledgeable? What are they advertising or saying in the media?