As an entrepreneur, it’s important that
you have full confidence in your business, but, it’s critical that you actually test
the market potential of your business. As a Vancity Business Specialist I have met
many entrepreneurs who skipped this section in their business plan and are desperate for
cash to keep the business going while they figure out why sales aren’t what they expected.
Don’t be that business! Here are some basic research steps to help
you understand your market potential: Make a list of everything you know about your
perfect customer. Imagine just one person and describe him or her perfectly.
Now, find statistics that tell you how many people like your perfect customer live in
your sales area. Small Business BC is a great resource for this.
Hit the streets as a secret shopper. Count the customers who visit similar businesses.
This is real, concrete data! Talk to your perfect customers, either in
person or through online surveys. Give them your 30 second pitch.
Then, ask them what would make them buy from you over your competition.
Ask them what problem your product or service could help them fix.
Ask them how much they’d be willing to pay and how often they’d buy
If you can do even this small amount of research, you’ll have a better understanding of what
is going to make your business a success. And, if you’d like more help learning how
to figure out your market potential, and you live in Metro Vancouver or in Victoria, drop
by your local Vancity branch and ask the Business Specialist when the next interactive, business
planning workshops for entrepreneurs will be delivered.
We offer these workshops free to both members and non-members, because at Vancity, we believe
strong small businesses reinvest in our local community.
Find out more at vancity.com/businessplan or, visit a branch to talk to one of our business
specialists who can help you with your business needs.