Got a Side Business Idea? A Target Customer is Step 1

new idea for side business

Top Questions to Ask Customers About Your New Side Business Idea

For many people with a new side business idea, especially those just starting to think about it, you’re faced with the crucial question of how to find your first customers, and how to define your target audience. It’s fair to say that this single issue can be a make-or-break question for your business because if you don’t establish who your target audience is and develop a pitch specifically for them, your business probably won’t go far. When you do have a target audience in mind, you should then think about questions to ask customers about the product, so you’ll understand what their true needs and desires are.

Why companies fail

Most companies fail because there’s no match between product and customer – there’s just no fit there. Most companies actually fail because of that, not due to a lack of funding as many people think. It’s actually because there’s no product-market fit, which means the product isn’t really needed in the marketplace. Most likely, the business owner hasn’t done enough research to understand whether anyone even cares about making the product.

If no one cares about it, then you shouldn’t bother making the product. The critical factor which drives your business should be a solid understanding of your customer, and for that, there’s no better approach than getting face-to-face with people. That means doing personal interviews, having coffee with people, and even standing on street corners and talking to people. During these conversations, all you have to do is ask questions about how they solve certain problems around the household, and what kinds of implements they use to bring about those solutions.

Talking to potential customers

Ideally, you might find from these conversations that no really good solution to a problem exists and that your product will fill an enormous gap in that area. If you find that people are solving the issue in various ways, you can use that information to improve on your own product solution and point out to people why your product is the best on the market for solving the problem.

So you need to engage those customers, either over the phone or in a face-to-face situation. I would not recommend doing e-mail, because that is not the best way to accomplish your objective. Online services are not the best way either, because you really need to get the intonation of the voice, and you need to hear and see people. It’s really helpful to increase your understanding of customers when you’re doing these interviews.

Learn about customer habits

Make sure that you’re also asking questions about what they do online and where they go online. What kinds of information do they share with their friends? Where do they get their news? Where do they spend most of their time? Are they basically wasting time on the Internet? You need to understand where they live, how they work, and what their hobbies are, so you can start to really zero in on what that target customer does on a digital platform.

People might say conversationally that they love a product, but the real question is whether they would spend money to purchase it. That’s what you need to know, and that should be part of your research when interviewing potential customers. Before you plunge into a new side business hoping for the best, you should realize that business success is most often based on sound research, about your customers’ attitudes and behaviors, and about the customers themselves.

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