If you’ve been thinking about starting a small business, you’re far from alone. A seminal Gallup poll showed that most Americans (57%) would prefer to be their own boss rather than work for someone else.
Yet despite the long-time popularity of this vision, more recent research reveals that one quarter of Americans who had considered becoming business owners decided against it. In most cases, these would-be entrepreneurs get cold feet after sizing up the obstacles of starting and running a business. These barriers include:
- Needing assurance of a steady income
- Not knowing where to start with a business idea
- Lacking awareness about how to successfully run a business
- Not knowing enough about how a potential business could hold up against the competition
To overcome these barriers, small business owners need insights into their market and prospective customers to determine if the business idea has legs. Here are three steps to get started.
Test your business concept
Don’t fall in love with your business idea and plunge into a full-scale launch without testing the waters. To avoid wasting money and time, give your idea a trail run on a smaller scale first — for example, by starting with a small quantity of product or limited service — so that you can learn more about the industry, target clients, and whether the concept is truly viable
Do some simple market research
The primary purpose of your trial run should be to gather information and refine your business plan. This can begin informally, either by manually collecting information from your observations and conversations with customers, or by using a simple tool, like SurveyMonkey, with a basic response mechanism for feedback. This will allow you to gather some baseline data from initial customers and site visitors that can inform your decision whether to move forward with your idea.
Build for your best customers
Once you have a few paying customers, zero in on your best ones and figure out why they choose your business. Avoid the temptation to be all things to all people. With Womply Customer Directory, you can easily identify your best customers — those who give you repeat business or spend a lot with your shop. Ask them what they like best about their experience with your business, and use this information to attract more patrons like them.
Starting and running a business is hard, but it’s also extremely rewarding. The challenges are intimidating, but small business owners have never been better positioned for success. We’re rooting for you and here to help!