Setting Up Shop – Starting a Small Business

Making the decision to set up shop as a new small business can be one of the most exhilarating, and yet also one of the most challenging for most people to make. Here are three suggestions to reduce some of the challenge associated with starting a new business venture:

  1. Choose businesses with lasting demand, whenever possible
  2. A new business based on a short-term fad can work for a little while. However, a lasting business should be based on trends which are more likely to be continuous, since fads will come and go. Even if the demand should change, a business based on an ongoing trends will be able to adapt more easily than one which is based upon only temporary events. Carefully consider customer characteristics (demographics, psychographics, etc.) to improve the selection of a business which has customers with lasting demand(s) for the products and services that you offer.

  3. Choose businesses in superior locations
  4. Some geographic areas will naturally be better locations for target customer markets. All else being equal, customers tend to prefer closer locations to those which are far away, unless your product or service is capable of being provided remotely, at little or no cost. Locating near customers who have established patterns of buying from your type of business is ideal, and most likely to result in better business results overall. Look for indicators (new housing developments, apartment complexes, etc.) which will closely match the target customer characteristics, and market segments you seek to win over.

  5. Choose businesses which are in high-growth industries
  6. All things considered, it is best to pick a business in an industry which is experiencing high growth, as it is much better to get some of an available market, as opposed to having complete dominance of a market where there are nearly no customers left to serve profitably. Entering high-growth markets can also lead to profitably specializing in sub-segments of that market, as your firm develops more expertise. However, also realize that every industry eventually experiences a slowdown as well, so be certain your business plan includes preparation for surviving the inevitable slowdown, once it does occur. Your business should be somewhat diversified by then, to reduce your risks of depending entirely on one market.

In summary, it is best to choose a business based on lasting trends, which is in a superior location, and which is in a high-growth industry. By doing so, you maximize the odds that your business will succeed, and last well into the future.

Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays

Small Business – SEO Basics – Where Do You Begin Promoting Your Business Online?

Many small business make the mistake of beginning with their website when they want to begin promoting their business online. For those who are inexperienced, this would seem the logical place to start. Unfortunately, just having a website is not enough. You must be able to get traffic to the website in order to do business online.

Ideally, you would have consulted with an SEO specialist before having your site built. For most, that is not the case. There is a great deal to learn when it comes to how search engines work and how to get buying traffic to your website. You do not have that kind of time to spend. The logical solution is to hire someone with experience to help you along the way. It does not have to cost a great deal but you do need to spend money on your website to get the full potential from it and to bring your website in front of your prospective buyers.

One of the first things your web consultant will want to do is define who your target market is. This is done through keyword research and market analysis. Once your market is clearly defined and the choice keywords selected, you will be able to make the little changes to your website and all of your promotion materials that will bring traffic to your website. More traffic means more sales.

In a few months, once your website begins to build traffic, your consultant will be able to help you monitor the progress of your success. She will take the time to put together a monthly report so you will be able to see what is working and what is not. Once you see trends of success, you can then tailor your efforts and streamline them into spending more time on what is working and less time on what is not.

Because search engines and traffic trends are ever changing, your SEO consultant will be a valuable asset to your business. Their business depends on staying on top of these trends so you can be sure your website promotion campaigns are as current and effective today as they were in the past. You are busy running your business. You do not have time to spend staying on top of another industry, namely SEO.

Your SEO consultant will take the time to work with you to find a solution within your budget. Even small business, or should I say, especially small business, can benefit from a helping hand when it comes to SEO. This service is not reserved for big businesses. Who knows, when you start getting enough traffic to your website, your small business may just turn into a big business.

Steps to Starting a Small Business – Market Research

Getting enough information on your target market of potential customers is vital to starting a business that will produce income. Making guesses on what the customer really wants will not bring you very far, so it’s important to do some digging and get the answers directly from them through market research which is an important steps to starting a small business.

Some of the following questions to ask in order to device effective strategies:

  • Who is going to buy your product or service?
  • What kind of people are they? (buyer, influencer or end user)
  • How big is the market? (Competitor’s annual sales would give you an estimate)
  • How will market trends going to affect your business?
  • Does your business has any unique selling point?
  • Is the need for your product or service currently not being met?
  • Is the market already saturated?

Why do it?

You will not be able to sell something or services that has no demand. Knowing what the market is looking for and so that you can present it in a new twist, drives the need for a market research. The advantage of small businesses is that they are close to their customer and can easily get information on their purchasing habits.

How to do it?

Most of the big companies spend huge amounts of money on elaborate surveys from renowned researchers to determine if their products or services will appeal to customers at a price they are willing to pay. But for small business owners on a tight budget, there are other means to collect the key data needed without having to spend a fortune.

3 ways to collect information:

  • Get business school students to collect data at the mall.
  • Look for financial data and statistics in local library.
  • Join trade association not only to access market research they have conducted but do the networking there as well.

Do I need any ongoing market research while running the business?

Yes, this is how you gather information to evolve and adapt to the changes in market trends.

3 types of methods:

  • Keep a close watch on what your competitor is doing.
  • Install point-of-sales software to track sales or services trend.
  • Put up customer suggestion box where they can write suggestions.

Every business needs to conduct market research, it is a crucial steps to starting a small business, and tight budgets are no excuse for omitting a research plan. By starting out with some easily accessible resources, you can begin to develop better marketing strategies that can position you for market growth.