There are a lot of tasks to starting a business, but some things we do are more valuable than other. When we are first starting out it’s tempting to come up with a company name, logo, social media accounts, etc. but there are other activities that we can do first that will make our lives easier down the road. If you are starting your business now or even just thinking about starting one, don’t worry about business licenses, setting up an LLC, or finding a place to work out of yet. Spend your first 60 days on the most important tasks that will set your new business up for success.
Market research is the first key activity you want to engage in. You probably have a good idea of the product or service you want to offer. Now is the time to find out if the market wants what you’ve got. To get your market research started, find out the answers to these questions:
What is the problem you solve for your customers?
Who, specifically, are the people who have this problem?
How many people have this problem?
How are they currently solving this problem?
Do they have the ability or desire to pay you to solve this problem?
How much are they willing to pay to solve this problem?
Who are your competitors?
What do your competitors charge to solve the same problem?
Who are your customers’ customers?
How do your customers make their money?
What problem do your customers solve for their customers?
How does what you provide help your customers solve their customers’ problems?
What else do your customers spend their money on?
There are a few ways you can find out the answers to these questions. You can research competitors online, send out online surveys, or look at online business databases. Those are all good sources of information, but one of the best ways you can get the answers you need is to talk to people who you think are your target customers. A great way to challenge yourself is to talk to 100 people in your target market to find out the answers to these questions.
Once you have the answers to those questions and are sure you are solving a problem that people need help with and will pay you to solve, it’s time to see if your way of solving the problem fits with what your customers want. Validating your product-market fit is a great idea before you invest a lot of money and time into your business. Some steps to take to do this validation:
Build your product around the needs that people expressed when you did your surveys?
Set your price based on the value you offer to the customer, but be aware how your price and value stack up to your competition
Show your prototype or early product to potential customers and gather feedback
Build relationships with those potential customers
Refine your product based on the feedback
Make sales or pre-sales before doing a lot of production or marketing
This should keep you busy for at least the first 60 days for your business! I know these are not the most fun or exciting activities to do. None of us went into business for ourselves to do homework and research but this will make your life much easier. The valuable lessons you learn from this research will help you create a product or service that is in demand from your ideal customers before you invest a lot of money into production, marketing or advertising. Now that you have the plan, don’t wait! Start talking to your potential customers today!