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Have you ever had a “lightbulb idea” to start a business or create something that you know people would want? If so, it's time to put your business plan together and turn your dream into a reality. To do that, you need to do your research and have a clear plan. Having a clear plan requires knowledge of business. At Daymar, you have the opportunity to gain business skills, which could help immensely as you work toward starting your business.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), here are three ways to make your business plan stand out:
Look beyond the basic product or service you have come up with and ask yourself “What am I really selling?” The SBA uses this example:
“Your town probably has several restaurants all selling one fundamental product—food. But each is targeted at a different need or clientele. One might be a drive-thru fast food restaurant, perhaps another sells pizza in a rustic Italian kitchen, and maybe there’s a fine dining seafood restaurant that specializes in wood-grilled fare. All these restaurants sell meals, but they sell them to targeted clientele looking for the unique qualities each has to offer. What they are really selling is a combination of product, value, ambience and brand experience.”1
If you decide to start a business, be sure to understand what makes yours unique. What needs does your product or service fulfill? Once that is determined, you can figure out the benefits and differentiators your product or service has, which can help your business stand out from the crowd.
Creating a niche, or a distinct segment of a market, for your business is essential to success. Often, business owners can identify a niche based on their own market knowledge, which is why an understanding of market trends and business principles is important. But it can also be helpful to conduct a market survey with potential customers to uncover untapped needs. During your research process, identify the following:
1. Which areas are already well-established for your competitors?
2. Which areas are being ignored by your competitors?
3. What are the potential opportunities for your business?
In an article for Entrepreneur, William Bill of Wealth Design Group LLC in Houston stated, “Failure to do market research before you begin a business venture or during its operation is like driving a car from Texas to New York without a map or street signs. You have [to] know which direction to travel and how fast to go. A good market research plan indicates where and who your customers are. It will also tell you when they are most likely and willing to purchase your goods or use your service.”
Use market research to determine if there are there other products similar to yours on the market. How can you reach a specific group of prospective buyers that these other products are not reaching?
“It’s important to clearly define what you’re selling. You do not want to become a jack-of-all trades and master of none because this can have a negative impact on business growth,” stated the SBA.1
As a smaller business, it's never a bad strategy to divide your product or service into manageable market niches. Small operations can then offer specialized products or services that are attractive to a specific group of prospective buyers.
According to an article on Forbes.com, when identifying prospective buyers, “what you may discover is slight, but important, differences that will impact how the product should be pitched so a prospect can be pushed down the sales funnel. By clearly identifying target audiences, it becomes easier to capture someone’s attention because their needs and goals are front and [center].”
If you are preparing for starting your small business, starting with a degree in business management could be very beneficial. Students in Daymar’s Associate Business Management degree and diploma programs are exposed to theories and principles of business in a market-driven, global economy from our trained professionals.