From the time you were young, you’ve been doing all sorts of research -- from grade school to college. So, it’s safe to say research isn’t new to you.
And if you’re an up and coming entrepreneur ready to start your first business, research is going to become your best friend very quickly. Knowing this, I’m going to get you started off on the right foot. I’ll help you know what part research plays in starting your new business, and how to get started.
Let’s not waste time: grab your laptop, your favorite snack, and something to take notes with. You’re going to complete this article as a master of research.
Stop Putting off the Nitty Gritty Work
I know, research isn’t fun. Like I said before, you’ve been doing this for well over half of your life. But, I can promise you now, you’ll thank me if you do your research.
So, stop putting off the nitty gritty work of researching for your small business and get going on it. Why? Research is going to help you know the direction you need to take your great idea for a small business.
What do I mean by this?
If you’ve conjured up a brilliant idea for a new type of software that’ll change the world, none of it will matter if there’s not a real market for it, or if people will actually buy your product. All of this can be overcome by research.
Research is Like Sampling at Costco…
Knowing the importance of research, now you really get to have fun. Why? Think of doing research like visiting Costco - you get to sample all those tasty foods and see what you like best. So, get out there and start to “sample” different businesses.
In other words, you should already have an idea for a business, along with a product or service, and all you need to do now is find out what other successful businesses are doing. Once you have “sampled” all the businesses you can, it’s your time to come up with a better way to do what they’re doing. Take good notes, and write down everything that comes to mind because it will prove useful as you write your business plan.
See, sampling is pretty fun, isn’t it?
LinkedIn Is Everything It’s Cracked up to Be
Now that you know the value of sampling businesses and learning from them, you need to know something important: LinkinIn is especially important to your success as you start a small business.
I know, you might be thinking “LinkedIn is just life facebook.” Well, it’s not. It’s where you can connect with some of the most successful people in the world. People who were once in your shoes.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
The fact is, you can bypass years of trial and error as you start your small business by simply talking and connecting with other entrepreneurs in your industry -- and even those outside of your industry.
Make LinkedIn a priority. Connect with 5 to 10 new people a day and get as much advice as you can from them. When possible, meet with entrepreneurs like yourself and find out what they did to become a successful business owner. You’ll be glad you did.
What Should You Ask Other Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs?When speaking in person, over the phone, email, chat, etc. you’ll want to have a list of questions to ask small business owners and entrepreneurs. Doing so will show them you’re prepared and ready to learn.
What questions are best to ask? Here’s a good start for you:
How do I make sure I have a good product or service?
What has your biggest obstacle been as a small business owner?
How can I offer the best health benefits and perks on a startup budget?
What’s your favorite part about owning a small business?
What should I avoid when starting a new business?
Do you know any other individuals who could help me be successful as well?
Use It or Lose It
Lastly, once you’ve done a great deal of research -- from knowing market, competition, etc -- you cannot forget this piece of advice: use it or lose it.
What I mean by this is that you will gather a great deal of information during your research and it will all go to waste unless you use it.
How can you do this?
Easy, start implementing all the advice and knowledge you’ve been given immediately. The notes you’ve taken - keep them with you always and add to them.
A Quick Research Checklist
Now that you know where to go and where to start, here’s a quick checklist you can utilize as you start your research:
Connect with 5 to 10 entrepreneurs and small business owners a day
Sample local small businesses
Find 20 companies with a similar product or service like yours and see what they’re doing right and wrong
Take extensive notes throughout your research
Make business plan strategies from your notes for your own small business
Research the demand for your product or service
Conduct interview and surveys with potential consumers for opinion on your product or service
When starting a small business, doing research is one of the most important things you can do. It allows you to know beforehand if there is a demand and necessity for your product or service. Make research a priority as you develop new ideas, a business plan, and speak with other entrepreneurs.
What questions do you have about doing research for your new small business? Let me know in the section below and I’d love to answer.