When starting your business you may have a number of ideas about the type of products or services you want to offer.  You will be passionate about your ideas – as you should be!  Most likely you will have limited resources as you start, so you’ll want to narrow in on the idea that has the best chance of success.  How your product or service resonates with your target audience is key to predicting your success.  There are 3 steps to understanding what your target audience is looking for, which can inform how you not only design your product or service but also how you position it to your target customers in order to resonate with them and increase sales.

  1. Identify what your target customers need to get done
  2. Identifying your target customers’ pains that you can help resolve and the gains that your customers want to achieve
  3. Creating your Value Proposition

These next 4 posts will provide you with the guidance to make sure that you’ve considered these critical questions before you invest a lot of money going in a particular direction.

What Your Customer Needs to Get Done

This may seem like a simple question, but it can’t be overlooked as there may be opportunities for your business hiding in the answer.  Insights into what your customer needs before you spend any money is like gold.  You may already understand this because you’ve worked in the industry and seen first hand what the gap is that you’re able to address, but yours is only one perspective.  That input can reveal what others are doing in similar situations, and work that they do that can be ancillary to your core offering, perhaps offering an avenue for expansion in the future.

When I was doing my research for a business, this interview stage proved to be invaluable.  I had been working in the industry I was targeting for 20 years, so I thought I knew everything I needed to, but I followed the process to be certain that I didn’t miss anything.  Turns out I did.  What I wanted to address with my business idea was solid, but I had missed an opportunity with a target market I hadn’t considered.  Fortunately I realized this before I even launched the product.  It caused me to review my approach to launching and address this new-found target market first.

Written by Andreas Zapletal  on behalf of  Open People Network

This article is part of a 4 part series, check out Creating your Value Proposition, How to Gather Information About Your Customers and Identifying your customer’s pains and gains.