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Understanding customers

It’s crucial to understand your customer base from the outset. To do this, you can gather demographic information to better understand opportunities and limitations for gaining customers to start or grow your business. This could include population data on age, wealth, family, interests, or anything else that’s relevant for your business.

Then answer these questions to get a good sense of your market.

– Demand: Is there a desire for your product or service?
– Market size: How many people would be interested in your offering?
– Market saturation: How many similar options are already available?
– Pricing: What do potential customers pay for these alternatives?

You’ll also want to keep up with the latest small business trends. It’s important to gain a sense of the specific market share that will impact your profits.

You can do market research using existing sources, or you can do the research yourself and go direct to consumers.

Financial success of starting a business

A successful business could earn you lots of money. Arianna Huffington, the founder of HuffingtonPost, has an estimated net worth of $100 million. Richard Branson, the entrepreneur behind Virgin, had a net worth of $4.3 billion. Then there’s Bill Gates, who started Microsoft. He’s sitting at a nice $115 billion.

Money is a big reason that many people start businesses. The International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal study I mentioned earlier points out that, across the 29 countries examined, an average of 23% of entrepreneurs are in it (at least in part) to increase their wealth. The main takeaway is that lots of people start businesses because they want to make money.

Of course, money isn’t everything, so wealth isn’t the only motivation that these entrepreneurs have. It’s just one reason among many. Even if you do care a lot about money, it’s true that most people, even most successful entrepreneurs, will not reach the stratospheric wealth of Huffington, Branson, and Gates. But respectable amounts of money do matter, and might even make you happier.

It’s said that money doesn’t buy happiness, but that old adage doesn’t quite jibe with modern research. Some scholars say that after a certain amount of income, more money doesn’t make you happier. But even they conceded that up until that point, more money does help.

But, no matter how much you care about money, it isn’t the only reason to think about starting a business.

Financial risks of starting a business

One of the biggest fears people have before starting their own business is financial risk. Out of those who hope to start businesses, 35 percent said they’re worried about inconsistent income, and 27 percent are worried about earning less money. Seventy-two percent expect to earn more money than they did when traditionally employed. They’re in for a rude awakening. According to research data, only 55 percent actually did earn more money by becoming an entrepreneur. You have to keep your financial expectations in check when starting a new business. Not only is there a very real possibility that it may not be lucrative, but you’ll probably lose money, especially in the beginning.

Only about half of small businesses, 45-51 percent according to the Small Business Association, survive the first five years. For entrepreneurs who do make it, only half reported experiencing more career certainty. The data shows that median small-business revenue declined more than 13 percent over the past two years. This certainly points to a general lack of stability for new businesses.

Amidst all this uncertainty, you have to think carefully about money before you start a business. Budgeting and saving more can help, but you also may have to rely on outside support systems like your spouse or alternative sources of income like ride sharing or delivery services.

New business equals new stress

It may seem intuitive that when you’re not answering to a boss, you’ll have more control over day-to-day activities and less stress. Research shows that’s not the case though. According to a study, 64 percent of workers expected to be less stressed after starting their own business. However, only 55 percent actually ended up that way.

Building a business from the ground up is a lot of work. You’re likely going to be more invested in its success than you would working for someone else. You also might not have as much time for your personal life as you’d like. Most entrepreneurs I meet say they’re almost always on the clock, because there’s so often something to do. Many founders never had experience managing their own hours, much less those of others in prior jobs, so they struggle to do it as they run a company for the first time.

You also run into problems far from your field of expertise that you never had to consider while working for someone else. In fact, 44 percent of self-employed people said they performed a much wider variety of tasks on a daily basis than they did working for someone else. You can expect that you may need to become CEO, Marketing expert, Finance manager, HR, and a Graphic Designer extraordinaire just to start and operate your business.

Why you should not start a business

According to recent research, 24 million Americans want to become their own boss in the next year, but they may not really know what they’re getting themselves into. From data collected from more than 3,700 American workers, it was found many of these workers had recently become small-business owners or wanted to become one. It turns out many budding entrepreneurs have high expectations, but lack being realistic about what it takes to start and grow a business.

The data shows that people anticipate better work-life balance once they start a business. They think they’ll be healthier and less stressed. At the same time, they expect to earn more money and have more career certainty. This doesn’t always happen of course. If you plan to start a business, you have to be cautious and prepare for the reality that you may need to work harder without getting everything you thought you would.

Should you start a business?

I’m sure you already know that launching a business can be an intimidating process requiring tons of hard work. And, the question of should you start a business has been lingering with you day and night.

Maybe you’re just unhappy with your current position. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, or maybe you just need a drastic change in your life. I could suggest a long list of reasons as to why someone decided to start a business. I’ve heard them all.

But, the most important determining factor for starting a business is whether you have the passion and motivation to start that journey.

If you have that one business idea that stays with you that you’ve completely fallen in love with, with a desire to turn it into a reality, then it may be time to launch that dream.

However, you must also be ready for the hard work that’s involved. To be an entrepreneur and business owner, you have to be truly passionate about what you do and will do everything possible to turn your vision into a product or service for the rest of the world to enjoy.

If you sit around often daydreaming about starting your own business, or are stuck on what’s next in the process after you’ve come up with your great business idea, this is the course for you. And I look forward to helping you start, grow, and manage that new business venture.

Let me help you gain new customers

I know that you have a great business with great ideas to gain new customers. But sometimes, as business owners, we get overwhelmed with trying to do everything including sales, billing, collections, customer service, HR, and then fail to do what we love most.

Let me and my team help you by doing the research and analysis, which will give you a solid plan to follow and will help present your business or idea properly to customers, investors, or as a blueprint for you and/or your team to follow. We can help you identify marketing opportunities, minimize risks, and discover the true potential of your business and product/service.

Market research is an invaluable investment that helps save money by eliminating guess marketing. Me and my team of MBA and DBA researchers and writers work tirelessly for our customers to develop and conduct Marketing Strategies, Business Plans, Investor Pitch Decks, Grant Writing/Proposals, and general Market Research.

The main items we include in our research plans and strategies include:
– Industry/Market Overview
– Competitor Analysis
– Customer Insight
– Growth Opportunities
– Business Recommendations

The resources, time, and finances you spend on hiring us to develop your business plan and complete analysis will come back to you many times over in dollars earned and failures avoided.

Destroying your to-do list

As a business owner, are you among the 11% of people who finish their to-do lists each day? That’s right, only 11%. The real question is, why has the to-do list become such a menace to the other 89% of society?

I believe it’s because to-do lists inherently work against you. Without prioritization or context, they wreak havoc on your day — especially if you’re running a business or overseeing teams of people.

And speaking of those people… if you’re a leader or supervisor of any kind, your team needs you. But in all likelihood, they are also constantly interrupting you. So are all those dings from your smartphone. (Let’s not even get started on your email inbox!)

Your clients and investors should be getting your time, but a mountain of priority-less interruptions and to-dos are getting it instead. That needs to change; I want to show you how it can.

You literally cannot afford for your productivity to be held down by ineffective tools or held back by distractions. You don’t need to destroy your to-do lists. You just need to redeem them and get back to the real work of your business.

It’s okay to disappoint people

Do you ever do things just because you don’t want to miss something or disappoint anyone?

Now that Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is actually in our society’s vocabulary, I need to tell you how much of a hindrance it is to your personal development and professional results. When you show up for everything and are accessible to everyone, you wave goodbye to a key asset: margin.

FOMO often makes us say “yes” to opportunities we should really ignore. We’ve all been in situations where we think, “Why did I ever agree to this?” Once you get past the fear that saying “no” will damage your success, you can capitalize on the right opportunities.

Take the time today or this week to determine who needs access to you and who doesn’t — and how to disappoint people for the right reasons so that you can do what matters.

Relationship Marketing

Strong customer relationships are essential for your business if you desire to increase sales and generate a positive brand reputation. Customers frequently recognize their relationships with businesses similar to personal connections. In analyzing whether customers looking for relationships with businesses actually desired a genuine personal relationship with the business, it was found that a majority of business-to-customer (B2C) relationships were inauthentic when contrasted with genuine person-to-person relationships.[1]

The foundation of relationship marketing includes four essential elements of relationships that include commitment, trust, comprehension, and quality. In an examination of 306 online surveys, researchers confirmed that each of the four elements of relationships influenced customer loyalty. Nevertheless, the customer’s perception and comprehension of quality and value influenced the relationship and purchase intentions. [2]

As a business, you need to identify your target customers by analyzing their lifestyles, psychographics, income, spending capabilities, and mentalities so that you may offer them relevant products and services. For example, knowing that individuals from lower income groups would never be interested in, or have the means to buy, expensive and luxurious products is beneficial in that it allows your business to focus its attention on the likely buyers of your product or service. Trying to sell a Mercedes or a luxury watch to someone who finds it difficult to make ends meet would definitely be a disastrous marketing technique.

 

[1] Bettencourt, L. A., Blocker, C. P., Houston, M. B., & Flint, D. J. (2015). Rethinking customer relationships. Business Horizons, 58, 99-108. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2014.09.003

[2] Jussila, J. J., Kärkkäinen, H., & Aramo-Immonen, H. (2014). Social media utilization in business-to-business relationships of technology industry firms. Computers in Human Behavior, 30, 606-613. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.07.047

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