When you decide to go into business you need to be absolutely clear about a few things, but none more important than who will buy your product and why. You need to be able to identify them with great clarity.
There’s no room for vagueness, guessing, crossing fingers or hopeful estimations when it comes to this stuff. The skills and tools required to create an idea are very different to the skills and tools required to grow market share.
If you are in business, or starting a business, you obviously have a product or service that you think other people or organisations want to buy. But thinking this and knowing how and why it will happen are two very different things.
At some point in their busy lives, with all sorts of other options available to them, you want people to look at your product and say, ‘Yes, this is what I need’. These people or organisations are referred to as your target market, and you need to know exactly who they are.
Why is this so important? Because if you’re not shaping your business from the foundations up, focusing on how you can serve your target market, you are going to try to be everything to everyone and actually be no good to anybody. From a strategic point of view, your desired target market directs the cut of your business.
Do you know your audience?
So now that you know why it’s so important to find out who your target market is, let’s have a look at how you go about doing it.
There are certain questions you must be able to answer about your target market. If you can’t answer questions like these, you won’t be able to meet the needs of your target market and you’ll be left sitting in a quiet room wondering why the phone never rings.
I’m talking about questions like “how old is my customer?” ; “What is their average annual income?” ; “Do they belong to a particular group (e.g. parents)?” and, “what is the biggest obstacle or challenge they face?”
And that last one may well be the most important. The more you understand the who, where, what, when, why and how of your target market the better you’ll be able to shape your business.
Your target market can be broken down further into niches that will help give you even more clarity about your customers. Each one of the niches you identify needs to be defined and dissected, just like your overall target market.
If you don’t know who your target market are and what they want, the only way you can solve their problems is by getting lucky, and luck is not a strategy for success.
Are you armed to attract customers?
Attracting not just any old customers but the right ones is harder than it looks! To learn more about them, you’ll need to use a tool like SurveyMonkey. Tools like SurveyMonkey help you attain deeper insights into the needs of your customers by asking them the right questions. Of course, knowing what questions to ask is a study unto itself. You can find a super simple secret recipe for understanding your customers in five easy steps, right here.
Stefan Kazakis is a business strategist, sought-after presenter and speaker and author of the new book, From Deadwood to Diamonds (Major Street Publishing). He is a futurist and an inspiring communicator with the voice of experience.