The Four Key Questions Every Micro Business Owner MUST Ask
Along with the right support and careful planning, passion is what will keep you moving forwards through those tentative first few months as a start-up, and it’s definitely what keeps you going when the going gets tough as an established business. Passion is the motivator as you establish yourself in your market and as you grow and attract new customers.
Passion will help you build a clear, unique and distinctive brand that separates you from your competitors.
However, combine passion with planning, and you’ll have the killer combination for business success!
Research and planning in your business can be scary, as you test new ideas, products or services; it can push the passion you have for your business to the limit. But there’s a reason why successful entrepreneurs are so successful.
That reason is this: they continuously plan based on researching their industry, their market and their competition. That way, they can take full and quick advantage of new opportunities, and make sure the products or services they offer reach the right audience at the right time.
So take a leaf out of the successful entrepreneur’s book and use the four key questions you need to ask.
Question 1: What Am I Selling?
The answer to this question seems obvious at first! But in order to make money and be successful, you’ll need to think about the products and services you offer in more detail.
It isn’t enough to describe what you’re selling, you also need to explain it in a way that allows people to see how it will benefit them.
(Remember, most people are tuned into Radio WIIFM – otherwise known as Radio What’s In It For Me!)
It’s all about outcomes for the customer, rather than inputs from you. In other words, the vast majority of people won’t really care about how hard you’re working, or how amazing your idea is. They just want to know how you’re going to make their lives better.
People do’t care about your business, they care about their problems – be the SOLUTION they are looking for
Question 2: Who Am I Selling It To?
Take some time to really think about your ideal customer. Who are they, where do they live and what do they do? How old are they? Are they likely to have a family, or live on their own?
Build a clear picture that will help you understand more about the people who will be buying your products or services.
Then, try casting your net a little bit wider. Are there other types of customer who could benefit from your idea? Why will these people come to you, and not your competition?
The question of who you’re selling to is especially important when it comes to developing a marketing plan. If you know who you’re targeting, you can more easily find the best ways to approach them (and at a lower cost!)
Marketing needs a laser-like focus rather than the ‘spray and pray’ methods used by many micro and side hustle businesses
Question 3: Do They Want What I’m Selling?
Once you’ve built a picture of your ideal customer groups, you’ll have to find out how interested they are in the products or services you’re going to offer.
Note: the most important advice I can give here is not to rely on your friends and family for advice! For the best, most impartial results, you’ll need to speak to people who don’t already know you.
Start by looking at where your potential customers spend their time. Could you go there too, and approach them for feedback?
One of my clients planted herself in a coffee shop all day, offering to buy her ideal customers a drink in exchange for some feedback on her business idea. Most were very happy to help!
If the idea of approaching people face-to-face sounds too scary, you could try designing an anonymous feedback survey (sites like Survey Monkey are fantastic for this).
Post a survey link to social media groups or pages where your ideal customers are likely to spend their time, and perhaps offer an incentive, such as a discount or a gift card draw, to complete it.
Make sure people know that their feedback will be completely anonymous. If they know their comments can’t be attributed to them, they will be more likely to answer honestly.
Don’t let your passion for your business or your ideas blind you. If you ask for feedback you need to be prepared for the negative as well as the positive.
Question 4: How Much Will They Pay?
You could cover this question during your feedback sessions or survey responses, but it will always help to do some extra research. You need to know if your idea has the potential to make money.
Take a closer look at your market, and at typical customer spending patterns for the type of products or services you’re going to offer. Which ones make the most profit, and why?
Be careful not to price your own offering too low. This is such a common mistake and I see it all the time – and it’s not only when people are starting out. You should keep checking your prices regularly and put your prices up at least once a year!
Charge what you are worth and don’t apologise!
If you’ve got any micro business stories to share – good, bad or ugly – then please pop them below!