12 months ago, my daughter got engaged and this past weekend, she finally tied the knot with the man of her dreams.
When they got engaged, I had a vision of how the day would go and the décor that would suit her relaxed style. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to pull off so I spent a lot of time researching and planning to see if I could get together everything I needed.
It was stressful at times, there were tears, but I persevered and cannot tell you how happy I was the day was simply beautiful. From the trees I hired in and had lit up, to the festival style food and the exquisite decorations, everything was perfect.
But why am I telling you this?
Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Because the same principle applies to building a successful business.
Research and planning are critical.
Having a timeline in place and constantly working towards that is what turns dreams into reality.
Not giving up when the going gets tough or when someone tells you what you want isn’t possible.
Only this week, yet another new business in the town where I live closed its doors after just a few short months. Everyone blames the locals for not supporting it but I have to disagree.
I put it down to bad planning. When building a business, you cannot expect to open your doors and have a flood of people come running through to spend their money with you.
You have to plan for the long term.
You have to work out your finances to see you through the early days.
You need to build trust and rapport with your ideal clients which is going to take time.
Blaming others for the failure of your business is burying your head in the sand. If your business fails, I’m sorry, but it’s down to you! Harsh but fair! Yes, external factors come into play, but I have yet to see a business fail where the owner has planned, researched and stuck with it through thick and thin.
I know my thoughts may jar with some and await the replies with reasons beyond control why businesses failed. And I’m looking forward to them. Tell me if you agree or disagree in the comments box below.
Do you ever have days when you have so much to do that you simply don’t know where to start?
That feeling of paralysis creeps in and you feel like crying. It’s all so simply overwhelming. Two hours later of shuffling bits of paper from one place to the other, re-writing to-do lists and five cups of coffee and still nothing has been achieved.
A while ago I came up with an idea that has helped me enormously when I have been faced with this predicament.
Write all your things to do on these cards or notes or even small pieces of paper. Now stack these up in order of priority. Remember to think about looming deadlines and which tasks are going to make you money when prioritizing them. Now take the top item and do it without looking at any of the other items underneath. DO NOT stop until you have completed that top item, then you can move on to the next.
If you have a particular item that is going to take hours (or days!), break this down into smaller chunks. Say you have to write a programme or finish a study module. Write down all the components of this. If you are studying it could be something like
Read chapter one
Complete actions on chapter one
Submit answers on Chapter one
Give each of these items a card of its own.
If writing a programme it could be
Plan subject matter
Map out headings
Plan module 1
And so on and so on
Again, give each item a card of its own. This way you can intersperse large tasks with smaller ones to break up the monotony.
It’s all about taking control and not letting yourself get overwhelmed. Once you have a plan, no matter how simple, you will feel more in control and know that you can manage what you have to do.
If you like this idea and find it useful, let me know in the comments below.
So many people start up a business without doing any market research. They then wonder why their product or service does not get the sales they were expecting and ultimately, why their business is failing. Read on to find out why market research is important for your business and why by doing it you will have a better chance of success.
Why market research is important if you want your small business to be successful
Unfortunately, many small business owners disregard the importance of market research. It is all too common for small business owners to ignore market research altogether and to base their business idea on their own assumptions. All too often, this results in the business failing which could have been avoided by doing some basic research.
The Danger of Assumptions
Many small business owners assume that they understand what their customers want and what motivates them to buy. But relying on assumptions is a dangerous game. I have met all too many business owners who think that by creating a similar product at a lower price point, buyers will flock to them. This is not always the case and has proven to be a downfall for far too many.
You need to find out how to connect with your target market and understand their needs and buying habits. You need to understand why your target market buy what they do (and rarely is it price!), why they choose one supplier over another and what would motivate them to move to a new supplier should one enter the market (you!)
Go out there and get cold, hard facts and figures, not just base your business on loose guesses. This will then give you a competitive advantage when entering the market. The more you can find out about how much demand there will be for your product or service, who is likely to buy it, what they will pay and what your competitors are doing the better chance you have of creating something successful.
Market research will help you:
Test the viability of your business idea
Who your ideal customers are (your target market)
Will these customers buy from you and how much will they pay
What the market trends are in your industry
Find out who your prospective customers buy from already (your competitors)
What your competitors are doing well, doing badly and what they are charging (competitor analysis)
You need to plan your market research carefully to get the answers you need and you also need to allow time to carry it out.
And if you don’t get the answers you were hoping for, this does not necessarily mean that your business idea will fail. It just means that you may need to adapt your product or service to suit the needs of your target market. I started up my business consultancy but a lot of the women I met who needed my help couldn’t afford my hourly rate. That is when I decided to start up my on-line advice which was more affordable for them and gave them access to a lot of the advice they needed.
On the other hand, please do not bury your head in the sand and ignore the results of market research if you don’t hear what you want to. Too many small business owners get personally attached to their idea and refuse to listen to the evidence in front of them.
Now you know why market research is important, it is essential to remain objective when carrying out the research and to use the results to plan the most effective way to give your business the best chance of success.
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