Small business owners are the cornerstone of industry throughout the world. A small business can fill holes that big businesses can’t or won’t, and it often brings new ideas into the marketplace. Every entrepreneur knows the feeling of bursting with great ideas for new businesses, coupled with the chagrin of being unable to pursue every great idea in the world.
Okay, so you’ve finally settled on your great idea – now what? Yes, there is a market out there for it, but the first step is to find out which market. Better yet, don’t choose a specific idea until you’ve found a market that you can serve and have a clear understanding of what needs that market has.Here are some tips for finding a niche that I’ve picked up through years of entrepreneurial pursuits.
Find the market or product
The first and probably most important part of doing market research for your small business is to discover who your target market is and where they are geographically. Maybe you already found your idea and need to know who is within your reach that would love to buy it, or perhaps you have a burning desire to help a certain segment of the population and need to know what it is you can provide for them with your skills. Effective market research will be able to tell you this and so much more – and, most importantly for a startup business, it will let you know whether or not your idea will work for the market that’s within your reach. Most small businesses thrive by finding markets that are too small for large corporations to even care about, but that contain more than enough people to allow that business to grow exponentially.
Assess your market’s needs and wants
Once you know who your target market is, market research can be used to ask people who are within the target group what exactly it is that they want that falls within the scope of your business. The answers to these questions will allow you to formulate an effective business plan, and begin to put into motion the strategies that will enable you to provide them with exactly the product for which they’re already looking.
Discover unmet needs within your target market
After you’ve established your business with your product or service, you can continue taking the pulse of the market, so to speak, in seeking out what else you can do to serve them. Maybe there is some fundamental thing that they need whenever they invest in your offering that you’re not currently providing, or maybe there is something related to your skill set and the scope of your business that no one is currently offering to your target market.
Analyze the competition
Learning about your market also means learning more about who is already serving them. Research will uncover not only which other businesses exist that serve your market, but also which of them the market considers to be a solution for which particular problem. By asking the right questions, you can even determine where the competition falls short and whether the market is loyal to them or if they only go there because they’re the only option.
Drive growth and innovation
Market research is absolutely essential to small businesses in every step of building the business. Too many business owners do all the necessary research to start a profitable business and get it running smoothly, but then don’t see the need for continued research. Before introducing any new ideas related to your business or trying to otherwise grow the business, you must consult the market to make sure that they even want what you have in mind.
Finally, a single business does not necessarily have to serve a single niche market. It is always wise to serve a single market to begin with, but once that is well-established then some business resources can be allocated to targeting a new market segment. Ongoing research allows you to discover which other markets can benefit from what you have to offer.