08 Jan Defining Your Business and Target Market
Yes! This is the year you will start your own business, get your logo designed, start that blog… Congratulations! Now let’s just make sure we have some steps in place so you don’t lose momentum.
Before you contact designers and talk logo colors and web design, you need to ensure you’re clear on what you want to create. Your business should have a service or product, messaging that communicates that and a crystal clear idea of who your clients are. Sure, you can cater to everyone and anyone, but that doesn’t allow you to stand apart as an authority within your field. Below are some questions to consider to help you identify your business strategy.
Why are you starting this business?
You need to be clear on why you’re starting a business. It will help you make decisions when things start to get hard, which they generally do at first. Do you have a passion for it? If you don’t, you might want to consider doing some further exploring to see what does excite you or what you truly enjoy doing.
How do you stand apart from your competition?
This is key. You’re new to the game, so you need an angle. Why should someone hire you over someone else? What makes your product better? Is it a lower price point? Is it higher quality? Is it geared to a defined niche?
Who is your ideal client?
Identifying your target market will help you make marketing decisions in the future. When you generalize, you need to appease everyone (or realistically as many people as humanly possible). When you start to specialize, women, men, children, latinos, chocolate lovers, whatever your niche is, you start to make decisions based on a core group with similar needs. If you own an accessories boutique for example, it’s easier to appease the “trendy big city fashionista, young professional, age 20-35” than trying to appease men and women, teens to elderly, rural or urban… you get the idea.
How do you plan to model your business?
Is it a non-profit? Is it socially responsible? Are you making money by selling a product? Providing a service? How many avenues can you explore to create passive income?
How do you want your company/brand to be perceived?
Come up with 3-5 adjectives that would describe your business. Is it stylish? Humorous? Casual? Professional? These descriptors will help define your visual style as well as how you relate to your clients. If you want to run a professional business but have balloons and confetti on your logo, you’re missing the mark. If you’re a fun, easygoing person and your website looks too corporate, you’re again missing the mark.
Briefly describe the nature of your business
Imagine you’re pitching your company to an investor or new client. How would you describe your business? What do you offer, whether it’s a product or a service. Can you describe that succinctly (in 30 seconds or less)?
Who are your top 3 competitors?
It may be that you’re venturing into something so brand new that there are no competitors for your new business. But, that’s actually pretty rare. Chances are, someone else is already doing what you’re about to do. Find out who your competition is and use it as a learning exercise. What are they doing well? What about them do you NOT like?
What are your immediate and long-term design needs?
Have a general idea of what your immediate needs are. Generally, that’s a logo and website. Do you want to have a blog on your site? Are you going to need a brochure, flyers, web banners? Identify what you need to get started, but have an idea of what add-ons you’ll want to invest in as your business picks up. This will help your designer plan to design with intent to expand and well as help you get an idea of budget.
If you already have established presence but are looking to rebrand or reposition your company, you should also consider the following:
What has motivated your company to redesign its corporate identity/website etc?
Why are you now changing your design? What do you hope to achieve with your new look and feel.
Is your current perception different from your desired perception?
Has your company changed its strategy? Are you perceived in a way that you’re not happy with? What do your clients currently think of you that you’re looking to change? Is there an offering or service that you provide that your clients don’t know about? Are you looking to change your clientele?
These questions should help get your mind churning. The more clearly you can define what your business will look like, the better results you’ll have. If figuring out any of the above sounds daunting, you can always consider hiring a business strategist.