Every owner of a company has gone into business for themselves for a reason. Whether or not that reason has actually been vocalized, even consciously considered, is the question. Every owner of a company, or someone considering going into business for themself, needs to ask the most important question of all: Why am I doing this?
If you do not have a good enough answer – or one that is petty in the grand scheme of things – then you should probably veer away from starting your own endeavour. If the answer is one of fulfilment in one capacity or another, then you might be heading in the right direction.
As business owners or potential owners, you will have a lot of questions to answer. The majority of these will be operational questions about running the company, how to effectively institute your designs. But there are critical questions you should ask for the bigger picture, questions that will determine the shape of your company.
If you are an owner or are thinking about starting your own business, below are some of those critical questions which the answers are crucial to the survival of your business.
Who is the Customer?
This is a multi-part question that could have dozens of answers. Answering this could determine what products you will sell or what services you will offer. Does the customer need the product? Is there a lack of your service for consumers? These can help identify a general audience or a particular niche in the market. Knowing who your customer is should be the first thing you figure out before beginning operations.
This could also determine demographics. Age, culture, geographic region; all of these could could help you gear your business towards those you will be serving. If you have it in your mind that you want to do something particular or sell something specific, don’t be so inflexible that you can’t give up the idea if you find that your clientele does not want it. It’s your business, but it will be your customers that keep you open.
Is Your Marketing Effective?
How are you marketing? Are you seeing a return on investment? If your advertising methods are not bringing in the sales you were anticipating, then look at how you are marketing. Older generations are reached through the usual tactics involving TV and radio; they are reluctant to use computers in the way the younger generations do. Online marketing is the preferred method for connecting with Millennials and teens (Generation Z). Again, by knowing who your customer is, you will know the best way to market your business to them.
How Do Customers See You?
If you refuse to get rid of the idea you were aiming to go with, you may find that your customers think very lowly of you. They may consider you irrelevant when stacked up next to your competition; they may think that even if there is no competition.
If you are operating in a way that causes you to fall behind your competition, then where are they likely to go? To the competition, obviously. You need to be innovative, flexible in your ideas but determined to provide the customer with services that will benefit them – even if they hadn’t realized such a thing would help.
Be proactive in your practices. Know your customer so you know what they need and how they perceive you. Prevent any complications or dissatisfactions before they can occur so that their impression of your business is one of professionality and reliability.