There are really only four steps to owning and running a business and they are
4. EXIT STRATEGY
They are all important but the most important is research for without it you will be lucky to make it a success.
Incidentally and probably to most people’s surprise the second most important is the exit strategy – how are you going to leave the business? Why build it up only to just close it down when you want to retire which is what a lot of business owners do? Having an exit strategy means you have an end goal in mind and focuses you on building your business for a specific reason other than being your own boss.
However this article is about the importance of research so let’s focus on that.
You think you have a great idea about a certain problem and you think a certain type of widget book or even a specialist shop will solve it and make you millions!
So you steam ahead but neglect to do the proper research to see if there is indeed a need or more importantly a want for it and you just plow straight ahead spending your hard earned money producing this fantastic product that you are sure is a winner.
Unfortunately it isn’t and all your dreams disappear along with your investment and possibly more. This could have been avoided with the proper research which is why it is so important.
Research is where your business actually starts – you need to know if what you offer is actually needed or wanted and there is a BIG difference between the two.
People need food to live but what sort of food do they want? See the difference? You could try and sell all kinds of different exotic foods because you like the idea of it but if nobody wants to eat them you will fail in that business.
Your research will tell you what foods people want and this principle applies to virtually all successful businesses.
So how do you start? Well who do you want to sell to? Men, women, parents, couples, singles, teenagers, sports people (men /women/both!), the elderly, the disabled – who? You must decide your who your market is.
Most people start with Google to find out what size of market there is ( if any ) but be very specific about what you are looking for.
For example if you’re looking at the fishing market ( a huge one ) when you type in your product or market into the search bar instead of saying „fishing“ say fishing rods or bait or whatever it is you are thinking of offering. If it’s fly-fishing state that but be specific, what sort of fly are you offering, what sort of fish do your customers want to catch – trout or salmon?
You can also look on Amazon and eBay for ideas, especially for products proven to sell.
However if there’s only one thing you take away from this article then make it this:
• It’s much easier to sell into a market that’s already buying than it is to create a new product and find a market for it.
Again your research will tell you what is hot and what is not.
Quite often a personal experience of adversity will make you look more closely at it and maybe see an opportunity in that particular market. For example I have a friend whose daughter became very ill which eventually led to partial amputation. This greatly affected her as you can imagine.
One thing that became very apparent when she was recovering was how limited her choices were for travel or holidays. The UK has specific regulations concerning hotels and facilities for wheelchair users or people with physical disabilities but there are still problems and even more so in other countries.
This makes finding suitable accommodation quite difficult. My friend decided that there was a business opportunity in this area so he researched the possibility of setting up a travel business catering specifically for the physically challenged.
By that I don’t mean just wheelchair users (according to his research only 7% of the people labeled „disabled“ are actually wheelchair bound) far from it.
He discovered that the elderly who are a bit unsteady on their feet are often labeled „disabled“ and they really don’t like it. It is however, a huge market, one which without the requisite research wouldn’t have been noticed. The elderly often have the same needs such as no steps or level resorts. Now that they have this information they can formulate the best way of marketing the business to accommodate both types of customer.
If you’re looking to be an affiliate you should look in ClickBank and see what’s in the top 50 selling products or if you have a certain interest and there’s a product related to it investigate it more.
There are two areas to look at in particular when choosing a product.
1. The gravity reading. This is the number of affiliates promoting the product – anywhere between 60 – 100 is ideal.
• Below 60 – product not popular enough = low sales
• Above 100 – product too popular – unless you have a large list already and are able to get in on the trend or fad then it’s best to ignore it.
2. Future $ – This signifies the amount paid on a monthly recurring basis – this is the best product to sell as it means regular passive income.
Once you’ve decided on who you’re going to sell to you need to know where to find them. If your market is selling information marketing products and your ideal customer is male, aged 40 – 65 then Pinterest probably isn’t for you!
According to a recent survey 42% of adult users are women with only 13% being men. This means 45% of users are under the age of 18!
LinkedIn however probably is. Of all internet users, the number of adult men using LinkedIn is 28% and 61% of LinkedIn users are aged 30-69.
Perhaps a more interesting number is the 44% of all LinkedIn users earn $75000 or more per year! If you have a high priced product LinkedIn would seem a very good place to sell it.
Of course Facebook and – perhaps surprisingly to some people – YouTube are also excellent sources for researching your chosen market.
If you are thinking of selling information products try Udemy and for crafts and such try Etsy.
One very important area worth looking at to see what people are buying is Warrior Forum. People here are buyers as well and you can find valuable information on what people want.
If you are thinking of starting a business or just selling online part time I hope this article gives you some food for thought. There’s an old saying “ fools rush in where angels fear to tread „.
Don’t be a fool – research!