You’re looking for the perfect USP for your new business. For the answer to the problem that all your customers are trying to find. Perhaps you have an already established business that you hope to scale, but are finding it hard to decide which leads to follow and which way to grow what you’ve built. So how do you know if you’ve found a true opportunity? No matter what stage of business you’re at, in order to grow and shape your company, there’s a certain amount of industry analysis required but even with that, how can you be sure you’re pursing the right opportunity in the right way?
Do your homework
There are plenty of research avenues to go down. You can start with learning as much as possible about your industry, the conditions of the market, the scope of the market you operate within and very importantly, your competitors. What is it that your competitors are doing well? And what are they doing badly? Where do they seem to be expanding and what is it that would make a customer choose them over you when it comes to making a sale or choosing a service? Finding out as much as you can about your chosen market and the trends, habits, and changes that are happening within that can provide invaluable data to help you direct your own choices.
Don’t forget to make the most of the information available online when it comes to research. Spend time finding out the best selling items on Amazon, Ebay and Google. Look up what are the most watched videos and channels on YouTube, which content creators are at the top of the game and why, and which are the most listened to podcasts. Use the Google Search intent functionality to start the questions you have in mind and find out the most typed endings. The restyle you’ll pull together will be fascinating and will provide you with a snapshot of your industry, the trends and the behaviours of the customers you want to attract.
Consider undertaking your own market research. Put together groups of individuals online or in person and ask them to respond to key questions you’ve drafted or to respond to product or service suggestions you’d like them to consider. Real time feedback is invaluable and if you combine it with the online data haul and your market analysis you’ll have a very well rounded idea of where gaps in the market are and where your best opportunities lie.
Listen to your clients
The voices of the people you’re hoping to appeal to are the most important you can hear. Prioritise speaking to them, really hearing what their experiences are, where the problems lie, what they can’t find, need, feel frustrated with. Gather as much direct customer feedback as you can to help you identify where opportunities exist. Make it easy for customers and clients to feedback to you. Set up forums for sharing experiences, respond to social media engagement, take complaints seriously, read reviews and take the time to respond. Opening up a genuine conversation with your clients whether potential or actual can really furnish you with the most insightful information and in the long run will position you as someone your customers really trust to deliver what they most need.
Draw from personal experience
We all bring unique personal experiences to our work so taking the time to drill down into what yours are is useful. What in your life do you struggle with, where are the pressure points in your day where you need to save time or do things more efficiently? When can you remember feeling frustrated by the lack of solutions to a problem you experienced, when did you look for a service that did not exist? Pulling from real experiences of your own can be a very solid foundation to build your business on and it’s likely that if you’ve experienced a problem or frustration, others have too.
When it comes to drawing on your own experiences, don’t forget to consider what assets and skills you bring to any business. Understanding your own strengths and looking for ways to maximise those in terms of a business opportunity is smart. Trying to line up a potential opportunity with something you do better than anyone else makes success all the more likely.
Build on past mistakes
No business or opportunity comes without its failures and missteps and they happen to everyone no matter what level of entrepreneurialism you are at. Instead of viewing them as failures, you could choose to view them as experience and to build on whatever learning lesson there is. If you’ve done something wrong and didn’t work out, analyse what happened. At what stage of the process did you take the wrong turn, is there something you could have done differently that would have impacted the outcome for the better? It’s possible that from failure comes huge opportunity provided you’re willing and able to see the learning opportunities in each mistake.
Opportunities don’t always come knocking and when it comes to the world of small businesses each decision you make is consequential. Any time spent assessing and understanding your market and your customers can truly help you to avoid false opportunities and invest your time and resources in the real opportunities that exist.
Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.