From Boards.ie: (http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=2055721635)
I posted the following in response to a couple of people looking to start businesses.
It seemed to go down well so I thought I’d start a suitably entitled thread to help anyone thinking of starting a business, and those trying to grow their business.
I hope it helps.
Any feedback would be much appreciated, especially if you improve and add to what I’ve written… after all, any help we can give to budding entrepreneurs will ultimately help us all!
Best of luck.
Grow Your Business With Digital Insight
Fail Fast & Fail Cheap
Your aim is to get real market info as quickly and cheaply as possible.
If your business idea is going to fail because of lack of demand then you want to FAIL FAST and move onto another idea.
Spending longer than you need to on an idea that isn’t going to work is a huge waste of your time, energy, money, self confidence, and potential.
Be Found By The People Looking For You
You can put people into different categories:
- People who need your products/services, but don’t know it.
- People who know they need your products/services, but still don’t want them.
- People who want your products/service, but aren’t actively looking for them at this moment in time.
- People who are actively looking for your products/services, right now!
By far the easiest people to sell to are the ones who are actively looking for your products or services. If you can pick this low hanging fruit and get profitable from this category then you can look at selling to the other categories later on.
It would be criminal to start a costly exercise to educate those people who need your products/services but don’t know about them, when there could be a lot of people actually searching for you that no-one else is serving!
Your Plan In A Nutshell
- Find out what people are looking for.
- Find out how to give it to them.
- Find out if you can make a profit doing it.
- Create and implement a plan to act upon this knowledge.
A Quick & Inexpensive Way To Get Started On The Right Foot
2) Make sure the region is set to Ireland.
3) Enter a phrase that someone might use to find your services/products (“dog grooming” for instance).
4) Google will tell you how many searches there were in Ireland that had those words in the search query phrase, and for similar phrases.
I’ve just done it and the results for Sep-09 are:
dog grooming 9900
grooming dog 9900
dog groomers 1000
dog grooming courses 1000
dog groomer 720
dog grooming ireland 590
dogs grooming 590
mobile dog grooming 480
dog grooming equipment 260
dog grooming course 210
dog grooming supplies 210
dog grooming in ireland 140
a dog grooming 110
dog grooming jobs 110
grooming a dog 110
dog grooming clippers 91
dog grooming services 91
mobile dog groomers 91
professional dog grooming 91
dog grooming business 73
dog grooming parlour 73
dog grooming salon 73
dog grooming table 73
dog grooming kit 58
grooming for dogs 58
mobile dog groomer 58
pet dog grooming 58
dog groomed 46
dog grooming classes 46
dog grooming prices 46
dog grooming products 46
dog grooming tables 46
dog grooming tips 46
dog grooming training 46
dog grooming vans 46
paws dog grooming 46
dog grooming books 36
dog grooming salons 36
dog grooming school 36
dog grooming scissors 36
dog grooming career 28
dog grooming kits 28
dog grooming service 28
cheap dog grooming 22
dog grooming schools 22
dog grooming suppliers 22
dog grooming tools 22
top dog grooming 22
all breed dog grooming 16
christies dog grooming 16
dog grooming parlours 16
dog grooming shop 16
dog grooming brushes 12
dog grooming tool 12
5) Determine which are the best phrases to indicate people are actually looking for you, and have a reasonable volume of searches (don’t get too excited about volumes… remember it’s for the whole of Ireland).
6) Put those search phrases into Google yourself and see what pops up. Are there lots of Sponsored Links (on the right hand side)? If there are then people are probably making money from those Ads. If there isn’t but there is a high search volume then maybe it’s ripe for you to go in there and be the first to have Ads up.
7) Check out your main competition (the ones with Ads in the top positions over a few weeks). Reverse engineer their sales funnels for free by pretending you’re a shopper and visit their website and see how they lead you into becoming a customer.
8) If you think there is enough traffic out there and you can compete with (or better) the competition create a simple 4-5 page website such as [YourCounty]DogGrooming.com. The 5 pages would be:
Home | Services | Testimonials (optional) | About Us | Contact Us
A simple one I’ve done for a client is www.dublin-electrical.com
Nothing fancy, but it works.
9) Create a Google Adwords campaign to run only for people who type in the search phrases you identified within the geographic region you cover (with Google Adwords you could set it to being your county or within, say, 75km of your location). Don’t forget that people travel to work during the day and could be searching during their lunch break, so factor that into the geography you want your Ads to be displayed in.
10) Analyse the traffic stats over a month and see how many times your Ads are triggered. Hopefully you’ll also be getting a few sales leads from a few visitors to your website.
11) After a month use this info to help decide whether you have a viable business idea.
Note that being found by people actively looking for you is the way to pick the low hanging fruit, but not everyone searches actively online. If no-one is searching for your products/services online then it doesn’t mean your business idea won’t work, you maybe just have to find out where all your fish eat, and go cast your bait there.