Any product or service needs to satisfy a need. If there is no need then there are no customers for your product/service. If you satisfy a need then you have customers. You need to bring your product/service to customers to make your business succeed.
So how do you reach them? Well you need to know who and where they are and what are they prepared to pay for you product/service. There is only one way to find the answers to these questions - you need to carry our basic market research.
- List the needs your business will satisfy. Will it satisfy more than one need?
- Who might have these needs? List out the people and businesses. This needs to be defined very precisely.
- What geographic area will you service?
- Are there sufficient potential customers in the defined geographic area? Do you need to extend and if so can you service a larger area?
To locate potential customers use the Golden Pages, Trade Directories etc. Why not use the Internet to help you, which could also assist you in sourcing a supply chain for raw materials, goods etc.
- Compile a list of potential customers.
- To refine this list make use of a short questionnaire to ascertain if the potential market you have defined needs your product/service. Remember keep the questionnaire as brief and clear as possible.
- Telephone the businesses on your list. Explain what you intend doing to the relevant person who is in a position to answer your questions. Administer your questionnaire as quickly as possible and express your thanks.
- Now that all your questionnaires are finished, you need to analyse the results. This analysis will confirm if the target market you have selected has a need for your product/service.
- Further reflection and analysis will enable you to refine your business idea and markets. You may well decide that you now have a newly defined market and if this is the case you need to prepare a revised questionnaire and repeat your telephone research.
Of course your market research may tell you there is not a market for your product/service. It is necessary to fully understand what our research is telling you. Always remember no market, no customers means no business.