A Start-Up’s Introduction To…Market Research

A Start-Up’s Introduction To…Market Research

You’ve had the idea of what it is you want to do and now can’t wait to get customers on board to buy it from you. Somewhere between these two points, however, you need to create validity for that idea and ensure there’s actually a market for what it is you’re offering. You don’t need to pay for market research as there are many actions you can do yourself which cost close to nothing. For example, speak with prospective customers and ask if they’ll meet you face to face to gain constructive feedback on your new business and its benefits. When you do, remember to discuss your price point too, because if people can’t afford them, won’t pay or they’re unrealistic, your business will fail. If it’s a bricks and more shop you’re opening, you could simply stand in the location you’re looking to be based, take notes and understand the footfall of the area. It’s usually best to repeat this at different times of day and week to really get a good understanding. Remember, feedback doesn’t have to be positive or negative…it has to be constructive which will help you to fine tune the plans for your new business. Finally, remember that your market research isn’t complete until you have confidence in the range of your findings. The more information you gather, the more likely you are to set up a business that is going to succeed. To help, use this Market Research template and contact me if you’d like me to look over it, once you’ve completed...
What To Name Your New Freelance Business

What To Name Your New Freelance Business

Naming a business isn’t always easy as it can create an impression of your business before any contact with you has been made.  In fact, for some, choosing the right name can be a downright overwhelming, frustrating, and exhausting experience. I can remember how frustrating the naming process was for our new coworking space. We went through a lot of chopping and changing before finally deciding on ‘Cambridge Business Lounge’, which I chose because I wanted to create an impression of professionalism and informality – like an airport business lounge. As for my mentoring service, I simply went with my name… for now. The right business name can prove to be your most powerful branding tool and naming it requires a lot of consideration. You also need to think carefully about your name for legal reasons, as well as the marketing ones. Part of your decision also rests on answers to “is the domain name available?” and “has the name already been registered with Companies House?” If you’re selling your own knowledge, than naming a business should be, very simply, named after you such as, “Ed Goodman Business Support”. If not, these following suggestions will help: Creating The Right Name For Your Business Compile a list of words that describe what you do, who you help, the problems you solve, etc. Then choose the ones that strike a chord with you the most and suit the personality that you want to portray.  You could also use a thesaurus to find the synonyms of your preferred keywords, for more suggestions. Once you know the exact business name you’re after, check with a domain registration tool to see...
Put Networking On Your Start-Up To Do List

Put Networking On Your Start-Up To Do List

Starting a business may force you produce the longest to-do-list of your life so far. There’s the website to build, bank account to open, business plan to write…it seemingly never events. Which is probably why, as a result, I often hear how new business owners intend to start networking once the business is up and running. Which of these two scenarios would you prefer for you?: Get everything in order, go live and then build your network. No. customers on day one = 0 Get everything in order, build awareness for what you’re doing, go live. No. customers on day one = 1+ Cambridge Business Lounge opened our doors on January 8th 2013 and we would have been empty to start with if we hadn’t started to spread the word a few months before. Ann Hawkins and I had our first book (New Business: Next Steps) published in January 2015, but built an excitement and awareness of it through networking events and online a few months earlier. The result of this was a number of pre-sale orders and a launch at Heffers with over 100 people. You should now get my point. Whether you’ve started trading or not – now is the time to start networking. If you’re stacked with work, great! You still need to start networking now. Too many business owners realise this too late and fail to make their first birthday. Don’t wait, start your networking...
A Beginners Guide to Working From Home

A Beginners Guide to Working From Home

There are now over 1.5 million employed staff working from home, with millions more self-employed doing the same. And all the evidence appears to suggest that this number will only increase in the coming months and years. I’m fully aware of the delights of working from home, having spent many years doing just that in my previous employments. However, even on the most organised days, I’ve started early with a determined mind, a clean desk, and a written to-do-list. However, it’s not long before I’ve thought that I’ll just go and make myself a sandwich first or walk the dog. I don’t have a dog, by the way. That’s fine, I’ll go out, buy a dog and walk it. I think you get the picture by now. For many, the joys of working from home include how unlikely it is to be disturbed by chance encounters while making coffee, unnecessary meetings, and other spontaneous interruptions. Other positives include the face that you work when you want to, at your own pace and in the peace, comfort and quiet of your own familiar and comfortable surroundings. What could be missing from all that? Sometimes though, we need some of the very things that working from home takes away. We require some element of routine and some interaction with other grown-ups. One survey I discovered found the biggest obstacles for UK home workers are children or family demanding attention and difficulty concentrating on work issues. So, what are your options if you don’t always want to work from an office and want a break from home working from time to time? Coffee shops? Libraries?...
The Sweet Spot to Running Your Own Business

The Sweet Spot to Running Your Own Business

“Every strike brings me closer to the home run” — Babe Ruth Why did you start a business? For the admin? To do more of the bits that bore you? …. I didn’t think so. Sure, there are some tasks that need your attention that are far from inspiring, but your overall focus has to be on what excites you or either you or the business will suffer, usually both. This venn diagram is designed to make sure your focus is equally on three key areas: Doing what you’re good at, Doing what makes you happy and making a profit. Taking your eye off one of these areas can be either fatal for the business or soul destroying: 1. Ignoring “Doing what you love” The business should do well and you’ll make money. But you will eventually become bored. 2. Ignoring “Doing what you’re good at” The business is no more than a dream. 3. “Ignoring “Making a profit” Ultimately happy, but unable to pay your bills. So, the conclusion is simple. Of all the responsibilities and tasks you have to undertake to start a business and make it successful, focus on the sweet spot: Do what you’re good at, make money from it and enjoy it at the same...