So, you’ve identified your business idea and have somewhat narrowed down who your demographic is going to be and the services/products that you will offer. Now you need to do some extensive research. You might be thinking, “RESEARCH?!?! That is WAY too complicated!” But, wait! It really is not as hard as you think, especially since now you can utilize my BFF Google for pretty much everything you need to know.
Before writing a business plan it is best to do some research on the market. Think about questions like, who is doing what you want to do? How do they differ from what you will be doing? Will they be an ally or competition? What are they doing well and what could be improved? Who is their demographic and how does that compare to yours? This will allow you to get a good idea about what is happening in the environment, what businesses already exist, and what you can do to set yourself apart from the competition. This does not need to be enough research to write a dissertation about your particular industry, spend 15-20 minutes a day for about a week and you will have a pretty good idea of what’s going on locally and nationally.
The second step of step two is to do some more research!! You have to find out more information about what your demographic wants and how they think. If you are targeting teenage girls, you will want to do some research to figure out the latest trends, what they are interested in, and how they think. You are not expected to understand every little detail about how your demographic feels, but you should have a good understanding of how to reach them and how to get them purchase your service/product. For example, it would be very difficult to sell a 401(k) policy to a teenage girl, she just has no interest nor is she worried about retirement at this point in her life. Instead think of where teenage girls hang out and when, like how long do they spend on Instagram and what times are they most likely to be online. See below for some ideas about education, income, gender, etc.
Now you have an outline of who your competitors are, how your demographic thinks and what they’re interested in, and a good understanding of the local market. You can use this information to revise your business idea, add new products/services, or maybe you decide to change your idea altogether. The important thing is that you now understand what your customers want and how they want it, which makes marketing that much easier. It’s always good to meet people within your industry and talk to professionals, network, and ask one or two of them to be your mentor. This way you have a professional who you can contact with questions or concerns regarding your business.