Steps to Starting a Small Business – Market Research

Getting enough information on your target market of potential customers is vital to starting a business that will produce income. Making guesses on what the customer really wants will not bring you very far, so it’s important to do some digging and get the answers directly from them through market research which is an important steps to starting a small business.

Some of the following questions to ask in order to device effective strategies:

  • Who is going to buy your product or service?
  • What kind of people are they? (buyer, influencer or end user)
  • How big is the market? (Competitor’s annual sales would give you an estimate)
  • How will market trends going to affect your business?
  • Does your business has any unique selling point?
  • Is the need for your product or service currently not being met?
  • Is the market already saturated?

Why do it?

You will not be able to sell something or services that has no demand. Knowing what the market is looking for and so that you can present it in a new twist, drives the need for a market research. The advantage of small businesses is that they are close to their customer and can easily get information on their purchasing habits.

How to do it?

Most of the big companies spend huge amounts of money on elaborate surveys from renowned researchers to determine if their products or services will appeal to customers at a price they are willing to pay. But for small business owners on a tight budget, there are other means to collect the key data needed without having to spend a fortune.

3 ways to collect information:

  • Get business school students to collect data at the mall.
  • Look for financial data and statistics in local library.
  • Join trade association not only to access market research they have conducted but do the networking there as well.

Do I need any ongoing market research while running the business?

Yes, this is how you gather information to evolve and adapt to the changes in market trends.

3 types of methods:

  • Keep a close watch on what your competitor is doing.
  • Install point-of-sales software to track sales or services trend.
  • Put up customer suggestion box where they can write suggestions.

Every business needs to conduct market research, it is a crucial steps to starting a small business, and tight budgets are no excuse for omitting a research plan. By starting out with some easily accessible resources, you can begin to develop better marketing strategies that can position you for market growth.

What is Useful About Small Business Accounting

Most of the difficulties of a company come from poor management or accounting. Paradoxically, it is to this area that entrepreneurs provide the least effort. Indeed, entrepreneurs who lack training in business management prefer to spend their time on more exciting activities: selling, customer care, communication, products (which is understandable). That is why we suggest a few tips to follow for a successful small business accounting.

The key to Small business accounting does not only have to do with numbers

I put this point first, since it is most important. Accounting is not an end in itself but a tool.

It is true that most of it has to do with keeping track of what comes in and what goes out of the business. However, if you look closer at the information small business accounting gives you, you should be able to see trends in sales and expenses for example. When you focus on the long term trends, accounting becomes more useful and interesting. It tells you what happens every day, it highlights the problems, but it can also help you to solve those problems. You can make small business accounting if you only changed the way you look at it.

Routine practices for a regular and consistent small business accounting

The secret is to get used to performing accounting tasks and making them part of your daily or weekly routine. For instance, you may see that it makes it easier to choose a day during the week to perform a task. You can write checks and make deposits on Mondays. You can also decide to call your debtors on Tuesday. By doing this, you will be able to keep an eye on your finances without feeling like you are doing it.

Examples of small business accounting tasks to perform regularly:

Verify what your fixed costs will be for that month and anticipate for the following. Pay attention to what you spend this and the last month. Make sure you verify all credit card payments. Keep track of accounts receivables. Remember to send the invoices to the customers. Ask your accountant to verify the work you do. Keep track of cash flow trends, etc.

Game Changing Business Trends for 2013

We have compiled a list of game-changing trends that will have a profound impact on the way we conduct business now and in the future. Our list makes recommendations on how to define your marketing and sales strategy for the near future. The underlying trend is concentrated around the principle of cautious spending habits, new and exciting marketing demographics, and a new value proposition.

Baby Boomers: Just when you thought you heard the last of the baby boomers, they’re back. This 76 million strong demographic represents over 30% of the adult population base (the people who are spending money). This demographic has a lot of power, you need to seriously consider a strong marketing strategy pointed towards this group.

Social Shopping and Networking: Research studies show that nearly half of all Americans are member of a social network and this group is spending money from online sources at an alarming rate, ecommerce has gone social. Marketing to this group of people through the paid advertising medium will prove to be very beneficial for your company when 2-3 years ago it really had no impact.

Home Improvement Expenditures: The recession has forced consumers to spend more time in their homes and they have also postponed their home improvement projects while conserving money. Unfinished and pent-up remodeling projects will blossom in the next 2-3 years, especially given the fact that most consumers are going to stay put rather than buy up even if they need more space.

Health Care: According to the US Census Bureau, 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are health care related. This industry will generate 3.2 million jobs in the next 5 years. This is an occupation with high income and an important group when defining your marketing strategy.

The Green Revolution: Sustainable profitability is the process of converting your business to a green model. Consumers favor business owners that employ the green revolution and if this applies to your business, use this as a marketing strategy to attract more customers. For example, something as simple as installing LED lighting in your business can increase traffic flow – bottom line – let your customers know!

Affordable Luxury: The recent recession has created a more selective and intelligent consumer. Retailers and manufacturers alike are hungry for new markets and consumer satisfaction; the savvy ones have created a blend of luxury and value within their respective product lines. “Bridge lines” are the new buzz word; these are lower tiered collections with the same quality characteristics at a fraction of the price.

The New Male: Over the course of the recession, the guy dominant industries were hit pretty hard making marketers think long and hard on how to appeal to this demographic. The intelligent choice is that the guys want to embrace things that reflect more diverse interests. Steak houses are out and boutique shave cream is in.

Fitness on Demand: Much has been written about the impressive stats in the fitness industry and health club phenomenon. Gym memberships increased steadily throughout the recession, and fitness clubs are turning up everywhere. As people continue to spend cautiously and time management is the utmost concern, working out at home has become a popular alternative.

Small Business Stimulation: The recession has paved the way for many new concepts and ideas. Consumers will avoid doing business with large companies at any cost and you will see a consumer migration to small business.