I had a networking lunch today with a friend – Nick – who is starting a home business: Branch Business Services. We discussed a range of topics including: business ideas, market research, market niches, and related.
My first suggestion for business ideas is to ask one question: “What business problem are you trying to solve”? This question should be asked many times during the lifecycle of a product, process, or service. The end goal of any business offering is to solve an existing problem or improve on a current solution.
Nick is quite intelligent, hard-working, and spends much time on business research. His admitted challenges are focusing on a specific niche and offering an appropriate service. This is a common dilemma for many startups. I suggested that he could:
– Conduct an online survey – Survey Monkey is free – for a defined market segment.
– Network. Get out of the house! Attend chamber-of-commerce meetings, industry trade fairs, and interview managers of target companies.
– Use the Internet, and in particular, Google search. Use keywords for your business and note the search results. Use the same keywords that your customers would. These same keywords can be used in your blogs, websites, and social media efforts.
– Google also has a another neat feature – Google Customer Surveys. While the online surveys mentioned earlier are perfect for getting opinions, Google consumer surveys are better for identifying interest in service areas, questions about a new logo/site design, or evaluating your overall brand; you’ll have an option to target the entire US, a certain age group, interest or type of buyer.
The bottom line: the more you know about your customers, the more you’re able to create better user profiles, more targeted marketing copy, and ultimately deliver a better product or service.
Homepreneurs wishes Nick the very best in his business goals and efforts. I’m sure he’ll be featured as a success story in the near future!
Nick Morris is the founder and owner of Branch Business Services.
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.