The most important thing, before even diving into business, is to identify the product or service that you want to market. This is what forms your business. Once you identify the niche market that you want to deal with, then it’s the time to understand what they need.
Sometime, you might be passionate about a product or service. Then it’s straight forward. You have the product.
If your passion is a group of people, then you need to understand their needs and solve them. You look in what they do not have and they might require and you provide it to them. For example if you are passionate about children, you might decide to provide toys to them.
Sometime, you can be passionate about a hobby. In this case, you will identify what others that love the hobby need. If for instance you are a biker, you might have noticed that most bikers require rain coats. The coats will become the product.
When selecting a product or service to market, there are various aspects you will have to consider:
1. You must have a passion for the product or service or the market. Always sell a product that you love and consume. DO NOT sell what you do not like, even if it seems to be profitable. This is the master rule. For instance, if you love baking, selling cakes will be great!
2. Identify a product or service that is easy to produce. This saves you on spending too many resources on producing it. You do not need to produce the product yourself, you can be an intermediary. For instance, if you love shoes, you could organize with a boutique and you be buying from them at wholesale price.
3. Get a product or service that is quality. If you really love the product, then it must be quality. Ensure that whatever you are providing is quality and great! If it’s expensive, you can mark it up higher, but ensure that it is of high quality. Most customers don’t mind paying higher for that quality. Especially once they consume it.
4. Mark up your product or service considerably. Large markups will inflate the product price. Ensure that your prices are reasonable and competitive enough.
5. You must select a product or service that is easy and cheaper to deliver, according to your capability. For instance, do not choose to sell fridges if you do not have a car for delivery.
6. The product or service should be needed in the market. Do not try to introduce a new product, especially if you are just starting. Provide what your niche really need. Listen to their needs, don’t impose. Products solve challenges.
7. Start off with one product or service or niche before introducing another. While introducing another product, select one that is related to what you are offering; one that you could also offer to the current niche. This helps you in learning and also concentration. For instance, if you are selling computers, you can easily introduce computer maintenance service and start by marketing it to those you sell the computers.
8. Make your delivery prompt and professional. The reason your customers will love you is not mainly because of your product but your delivery. Note that you are in a competitive market, where the products are almost the same. So the only thing that is different is how you delivery your service or product.
9. Keeping in touch with your customers. You have bought many products and services from various shops in your locality. Have you ever got a call from the shop keeper asking you how you are? That’s the difference you want to make. Select a niche that you could easily communicate with, on at least a weekly basis. This is how you also get repeated business from them. You passion will definitely make your interaction deeper and engaging.
10. Long term product. Choose a product or service that you could sell for a longer time. Since you are going to invest into it, it should stay in the market longer enough to return your investment and enable you make money.
11. Identify a supplier who will understand you and your market. A good supplier can support you and your business in both good and bad times. Sometime, taking a smaller supplier can provide you with personalized services.
One point to note is that you do not have to produce the product yourself, unless you can do it easily like baking a cake. You just need to identify a good supplier and get the products at wholesale prices. Do not reinvent the wheel. Remember to service your supplier well so that in future when you need to deliver the product to a client and get paid on delivery, the supplier can let you have the product on credit.
With the passion, market and product, you are now ready to start your business. Remember that the past sessions were dealing with you. The next sessions will discuss about others in the business; the competitors.