This question came up in some conversations: Do you do any research before launching your business (and if so, how much), or do you dive directly into it, without any research?
Ladies, by now you know my obsession with smart marketing, so here is my predictable two cents: Always, always, always do the right research. It doesn't have to be paid, but it has to be truth!
Start with your consumer, continue with your competitors, and end with your consumers.
If this new business might be your future, why treat it as dog food?
So, make it an obsession (not the bad kind!) and approach it with curiousity, genuine interest, and passion: Start look at blogs, websites, talk to people around you, ask your friends, get a mentor, dig into what your competitors are doing, build scenarios (what could happen if?), but never, ever, ever jump on something (if your future is at stake and even if it's not) without knowing if this idea is an AHA or not.
In spite of the conventional wisdom, the number of people who fail soon after opening a business is considerably high, and part of the reason is that their businesses are not answering any real needs, besides the need the owner had (ha!) -- to make money.
As we all know (as consumers), this is not a reason good for a small business owner to succeed. If this were a reason good enough to achieve success, we would all be bloody rich!
So, don't ask yourself if you should do reasearch, but how much research you should do and when? That's another story I'll write about soon.
In the meantime, allow me to uncover for you some numbers
to get you in the right mindset for this: In 2006, 649,700 new firms opened their doors. In the same year, 564,900 firms closed their doors and 19,695 went bankrupt. Brutal! After four years from opening, 56 percent of the firms dissappear (not as in Twin Peaks
, the movie, but as in "this business is just not making any money" -- the reality). Scary but also very educational!
So, start right, start smart.