You have stumbled upon a million-dollar idea but is it enough? Is your great idea good enough? There is no way to learn that for sure until you actually try them out but there are ways to prepare yourself by testing your idea in the market before actually establishing a business or a startup around it. Here are few problems you need to sort out before heading out into the market.
What are the pain points you are trying to adhere to and defining what unique value your products or services bring into the market.
The best of the startups have come into existence when the founders themselves faced some problem and tried the derive a solution for the same. These startups have incepted from the idea of creating opportunities for themselves by creating solutions to their pain points. Then you need to justify the value created by that solution. Who wants this right now? Who else is facing the same problems as you? What is the extent of their need for your offering? Will they use something that is just a shallow version, merely fulfilling the minimum viability of the offering made by a two-person startup from unknown parts of the hemisphere? If the answer to these questions are in positive go ahead, you have yourself something real and acceptable to offer.
Scope out your industry: Do an intensive market research
Think you are interested in entrepreneurship? Have you made up your mind about your preneur? Now, it’s time to identify the perfect entry point into the market. Once you have addressed the value proposition of your offerings, you need to see the existing paradigm in the market and analyse who are providing similar if not exactly same products or services. It is good to have competitors because that validates the existence of a market for your products or services. There are tons of things that you can learn from the existing players in the market. How well they fair in the market? What mistakes they did while the initial phase of their establishment and how did they get back from their shortcomings? What do the customers appreciate about them? What is your point of difference with respect to your competitors? How can you improve upon your existing offerings and how much are people willing to pay for what you have to offer? Doing a competitive analysis gives you a better idea regarding the overall likelihood of a successful venture.
Choosing the target market
Analysis of the market gives you a good insight about the existing conditions of the market and you can identify the trends doing the rounds in the market at that point of time. The next step is to brainstorm the right target customer base you want to sell your product/service to. Appealing to everyone translates to nothing and actually appeals to no one. A general demographic isn’t enough, so you must direct your efforts to hone in your targeted buyer personas. Identify and brainstorm micro markets that you want your product or service to prevail in. It is pretty evident that businesses have to break through lots of noise and chatter to reach out to the right audience and capture their attention. Creating buyer persona profiles gives you a clearly organized target market and you can tailor your content right from words of messaging to your complete marketing campaign as per the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different persona groups. In other words, this allows you to understand and manage the specific needs and interests within the micro markets and identify the typical background of the ideal buyer for your product. After all you must know what makes your customers tick!
Branding your business: Name, Logo and Presence
Choosing the right name for your business is vital and you need to think long and hard before coming down to that final call. Make sure that it doesn’t confuse with any existing brand name in the market which can lead to loss of sales and also complicate into legal actions. Also check for the availability of web domain which is more or less in line with the company name because that is the first thing your target audience sees. Get a professional logo designed which is a crucial decision if you are serious about developing your business in future. A unique look creates an impression across prospective customers and gives them confidence regarding your offerings and marks as your Brand identity.
Create a business plan
You would not build a house without a blueprint. Similarly, you should not start any venture without a well-designed business plan. A well planned business model serves many purposes. It not only acts as a means to introduce your business to banks or investors for loans and funding purposes but also provides a clear direction for the business. A business plan also counts in contingency plans in case of unexpected events. The business plans lists out all the pros and cons of doing a business and if the pros outweighs the cons, then your business plan is good to go. A professional and well-crafted business plan has a step-by-step work process right from the executive summary to the financial forecasting, which covers as the most essential aspect of securing investment.
Do you have access to all resources to launch your business?
You need not be a richie rich to start a business. It all depends on your idea. How substantial or unique is your idea? If not unique, then how exactly are you different from the other players in the market? There needs to be some kind of special element in your offering that drives people to favor you over your competitors. It may be anything: Your product in general, the customer experience you offer, sales support, pricing and offers or anything that the customer finds exclusively from you. And to translate this USP to the customers you need combination time, money and smartness. Marketing of a product or service starts right from the inception of the idea for the offering and you need to make sure that you have all the necessary ingredients to deliver what you promise. Unless and until you are absolutely sure about what you have to offer, wait out before entering the market. There are many aspects to look into like looking into all the legality related issues of licensing and other contractual agreements. Getting permit for sales and services, agreement with suppliers and distributors in case of products business. You should ensure that all the processes right from sales to supplier agreements are all legal binding and contracted up with relevant terms and conditions. Partnering up with businesses is also a choice to facilitate resources and it also helps in tapping into an existing customer base of loyalists. In all, it is about getting the best out of the least to deliver the best to the customers.
Strategizing a marketing plan for your brand
What is the point of having a business if nobody knows about it? If you plan on building over an idea right from ground-up, you are most likely to plan an effective marketing strategy that accompanies your offerings. If you don’t then all the value proposition and benefits are overshadowed by the lack of visibility and reach across your prospective customers. Both digital as well as traditional marketing is essential to reach out to the right set of audience for your products or services. Digital footprint is essential for all forms of business. If one can’t find you online, it’s as if you don’t really exist. Even if you don’t sell over online or e-commerce platform, it is still paramount to have an online presence via websites, social and other forums to create visibility of your products or services. You need not be a marketing whiz or start with a big marketing budget, all you need is to start small and focus on building relationships to get your name out there. The key to successful marketing is to understand the customer value of your business, reflect upon your brand image and capitalize over your point of difference across the market. It is all about building a reputation for yourself as well as your business in the market.