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.

What You Need to Know About Small Business Advertising

Since the dawn of time advertising has been making the world go around. For those in business, they understand the power this concept brings to their company. Small business advertising is big business for both owner and customer, for without it, commerce and trade is at a stand-still.

The key thing that advertising does is bring traffic to your place of business, whether it be online or offline. Traffic in the form of visitors who have a need for what you are selling or providing. One of the most important things you should keep in mind is that not all traffic is good traffic. When visitors come to your establishment, they are either just looking around, need more information about what you provide or they are ready to buy with money in hand.

As a business owner, you probably want more of the latter than the others. And if you have an online presence along with a brick-and-mortar company, you are able to have the best of both worlds. The following small business advertising tips will help you see the type of traffic you desire on a consistent basis.

Make Sure Your Website Has Quality Content

Regardless of what your site is related to, its content needs to be logical and provide added benefits to your viewers. Once you understand current online advertising trends, you will know that no longer is the time that you could create a web site, place a couple of banner ads and one-way links and see the cash come in. Only by keeping your entire web site on the same subject as it regards your particular niche, as well as with adding ideal top quality information, are you going to generate followers of people which may want to check out the things your subject is centered on.

Be an Authority in Your Area of Interest

To make sure that you come up with quality information, it’s essential to know at what you are actually talking about. You can do this by means of one of two ways: past experiences or researching the topic. As soon as a large number of people land onto your site, they’ve come as a referral or from the search engines and most of them are in need of advice to the answers to problems they are facing. If your internet site is first on the web, you are deemed the primary authority for that field. So your subject matter ought to be articulated so.

Be a Contributor to Internet Forums and Related Weblogs

These two methods easily add to others finding out about your expertise and moreover, it displays to the world that you sincerely like offering assistance. This approach appears great from the perspective of your followers not to mention the search engines, while increasing your website’s position status. You will find blogging sites and meeting places that are on your specified expertise very easily by simply using Google’s search engine. There will be additional targeted visitors through these sites that will generate a much greater following of people with circumstances who would like resolving as soon as possible.

Create Your Very Own Blog

Blogging sites that can correspond to a website are becoming quite popular at this time because new content is continually on hand. A number of individuals make full use of their blogs to tell personal experiences, similar to a journal. Other people use them for mentoring and instruction. Exactly how you choose to make use of your blog, ensure that it stays on-topic. What’s remarkable about developing a blog is the fact that you can actually drive traffic to your website from this and that increases its popularity.

Get the Advantage of Social Media

It seems everyone is making use of sites such as Facebook and Twitter to stay connected with one another. For this particular reason, you can accomplish the exact same thing with your own website and blog. However, you will find procedures that must be put into practice in order to not end up getting banned for spamming. However pertaining to the most part, feel free to use the information you have, expertise and experience to be able to help people when it comes to managing their particular difficulties in addition to drive free targeted traffic to your site or blog.

These fundamental methods of building an internet authority presence is exactly what online advertising trends are centered on. There are additional small business advertising strategies you can use to enhance your presence online. And by means understanding these strategies, your website, blog, products or services are going to be increasing in popularity before you know it.

Social Media in Recruiting – Whats the Buzz?

Facebook – LinkedIn – Social Media – What’s the Buzz?

Facebook is currently “The Social Media” site on the Internet. LinkedIn is the site most often used for “Professional Networking”.

Which site works best for Recruiting New Talent for your Firm?

What are the differences – are there any?

In the early 2000-2006 era a number of “Social Media site were born, among them Facebook and LinkedIn

Let’s talk a bit about social media, what that means really – to most people. Social Media has a couple of different meanings I think – depending on who you talk to.

I would like to propose that the term “Social Media” be relegated to just that – SOCIAL MEDIA.

Facebook does a great job of letting Susie show off her new dog or Molly talk about what a great time she had with her kids at Disneyland over the weekend. Facebook also lets Bill post pictures of all of the fun he and his buddies had getting hammered at the beach last weekend. Those are SOCIAL functions and most likely are not appropriate images you would necessarily want to share with the new hiring manager who you are trying to impress.

HOWEVER –

Facebook has an appetite to be the dominant player in both the Social Media niche and the Professional Job/Jobseeker Niche – so they will do what they seem to do best – innovate – add new features. Enter Branchout – a new feature on Facebook created by a team, with backgrounds in the social media industry and online recruiting; funded by some of the original investors in Facebook.

Here are the important components offered on Facebook through “Branchout”

1. You can now create a professional Profile – No Social stuff here just work history, Education and endorsements – stuff like that
2. Search Jobs – Use Location, Industry and Job Title – Good for general job searches; so far about 3 million
3. Send out invitations to Connect – pretty standard stuff – but a good way to grow your network
4. Search for a company – see everyone who works there and connect with friends or ask friends to introduce you to other within the company – this sounds cool.

Will Facebook become a player in the Job/Jobseeker market niche – almost certainly – they have the exposure the numbers and the desire – the technology will be built and change as the appetite for the product increases. Facebook has recently said that it has over 750 million users worldwide.

Next let’s look at LinkedIn –

LinkedIn actually started a couple of years earlier than Facebook and was conceived and developed from the beginning as a Professional networking site. The natural evolution, to becoming a site to network by industry and the inclusion of a jobs module, catapulted LinkedIn into one of the best places online to network and find jobs by industry. So LinkedIn was started with the Professional in mind – I think that’s important to remember.

Now it is at least 120,000,000 users strong and growing daily – their latest IPO was a huge success and has infused the company with the capital to develop and grow even faster.

As a strictly Professional “Fact Checking” site for reviewing a person’s background for “Job Fit” – LinkedIn is clearly the winner- at this time. The biggest problem with LinkedIn is that most of the site users do not actually use the site – they fill out their profile and then – seldom go back to the site – there has been no SOCIAL component to the site. LinkedIn is highly aware of this problem and intends to fix it – they will need to become more like Facebook – that is they will need to enhance the Social Aspect of their site offering. This is being done as we speak (or as you read this).

So – we have two sites each doing what they do best, trying to do what the other does best – kind of confusing. I personally use both sites and I am not sure I have a great answer to which is better:

Facebook drives me mad with all of the inappropriate ranting and junk pasted on it by people trying to be funny, cool, zany or share their secrets for everyone – anyone to see. I know there are ways to filter all of that but – I just keep deleting my membership – and then of course I turn it back on again after a week or two – I admit it, I am an online junky – and I keep hoping that maybe Facebook will grow up a bit – OK it’s me and the way I use the site – I’ll try harder.

LinkedIn is not much better – but from a different perspective – it’s boring – you really can’t do much with the site except link up with a bunch of different people – the groups are OK but most seem cluttered with junk. OK again – it’s me – I am expecting more out of it than I should.

I guess I will need to keep looking until I find the right site for my needs – from the perspective of Recruiting New Talent for your Firm – which is where this article started – I am guessing that industry Niche sites are going to be the new Social Networking/Professional Job sites of the future. Maybe within the already existing sites – maybe something new.

Taking Advantage of the Trends of 2012 in Your Small Business

Well, as a former businessperson in retirement I am often contacted by a small business startups and asked questions about how best to do business in such a dismal economy. In fact generally the questions are accompanied by excuses and complaints. Indeed, just as the economy presents challenges, hardships, and crisis for small businesses, I would submit to you on a reciprocal side it also unveils excellent opportunities at every turn. Indeed I’d like to talk to you about this for a moment if I might.

Is it possible to take advantage of the economic downturn and slow growth economic trends? Is it possible to take advantage of other cost-saving strategies to improve efficient marketing in 2012? Yes it is, and let’s go ahead and talk about this for a moment

Slow Growth Economy

A slow growth economy means your competition is not expanding as fast as it normally would. It also means if you’re starting a new business you’re going against businesses that are well-established, but ones which are also experiencing challenges with cash flow and have been beaten down. If you come into the market hot and heavy, they may not be able to compete, they don’t have anything left in them.

Consumers – Low Cost High Volume Strategies

Gaining market share very rapidly in a downturn economy is pretty easy if you use a low-cost high-volume strategy to gain market share. This also creates an abundance of referrals, and a very large customer base extension to perhaps market segments you would normally not have.

Inexpensive and Over Qualified Labor

Downturns in the economy also mean that fewer people are employed, and that means some top-notch people who are over qualified will be willing to work for you at half the salary. This means you can put together a significant team of experienced employees. When the economy is cooking along very nicely, you will be able to do this.

Deals on Supplies, Inventory, Vendor Assistance

When times are tough and other small businesses are hurting, that means your vendors, suppliers, and those who sell your inventory to you are willing to make deals, give you better terms, and offer you assistance. That’s free for the taking, and it will lower your costs, allowing you to pass those lower costs onto consumers to grow your business.

Low Cost Loans

Right now interest rates are at an all-time low, and if you can qualified to get a business loan, the amount in which you’ll have to pay back later in interest is quite reduced. If you can get the loan, this becomes an advantage to your business. Your competition may not be able to get the loans because they cannot prove their cash flow is adequate enough considering the hardship they’ve had going through during the last recession.

Deals on Business Location Leases

Lastly, right now some retail centers have extra unoccupied space, and they are willing to do deals to fill out the spaces, improve their own revenue, and allow them to keep those business buildings from being foreclosed on. This gives you the advantage in negotiating a good deal on a lease with excellent more favorable terms well below what your entrenched competitors are already paying.

Therefore I ask that you stop complaining, and start using your mind and thinking about how to take advantage of the current economic crisis. Please consider all this and think on it.