Start a Business

The 5 People You Should Get to Know When Launching Your Business

Written by Alysa Tarantino on . Posted in Start a Business

As an eager and driven entrepreneur, you will develop a substantial network of acquaintances and business peers. This is an inevitable occurrence in your unique field. In that wide collection of relationships, there are only five people you should get to know better than the rest when launching your business:

  1. Your Partner

    You and your business partner already have aligned interests.  That fact is what has brought you to this point.  But do you really know your partner?  Make sure that you know the following before agreeing to go into a partnership with someone:

    1. You need to know the personal and business goals of your partner.
    2. Know their history regarding past business relationships.
    3. Know how they will react in stressful times (there will be many) and in times of prosperity.
    4. Most importantly, be absolutely certain that you trust each other. Trust is key in a partnership.  To develop trust in your partner, you need to be able to communicate openly and candidly with one another.
       
  2. Your Mentor

    Mentors are incredibly imperative when starting a business. When you’re brave enough to take the road less traveled—the road of entrepreneurship—you need a guide. Your mentor is that wise and experienced person that will be able to give you advice when you need it the most.

    1. Know that they’ve had success in your field.
    2. Be certain that your mentor takes an invested interest in what you’re building.
    3. Ensure that your mentor believes in you and will work with you to reach success.

      Your mentor can play a key role in the development of your startup, be certain that you believe in this person and trust the guidance provided.
       
  3. Your VC

    You need to get to know your venture capitalist. They believe in you and what you’re building. They’ve invested money into your idea. This person is important to your success, therefore getting to know your VC should be a priority.

    1. Know the experience they’ve had in your field. Relevancy is essential and the advice they can give you will be just as significant.
    2. Have knowledge of previous investments they have made. How did those investments pan out? Do your research.
    3. Know that you can develop a working relationship with open communication and mutual trust.

      Having a solid relationship with your VC can make all the difference in the success and development of your company.
       
  4. Your Lawyer

    All entrepreneurs will need legal advice at a point in building their business.  Although you don’t need to be best friends with your attorney, you do need to be familiarized with the work they do and how they do it.

    1. As an entrepreneur, you have unique budget limitations. Know your attorney’s prices. You don’t want any surprises down the road, so know exactly what you will be spending to ensure the protection of your business.
    2. Know your attorney’s field of expertise. Be certain that your lawyer has experience with small businesses. You need the right price and the right specialization.
    3. Know that your attorney will have time for you when you need it the most. You are both in a field where time is a luxury, be sure that you have the ability to make time for each other.

      Once you’ve found the attorney who meets all of your needs, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. Then you can further develop your relationship with this ever-important individual.
       
  5. Your First Employees

    Number 5 isn’t just one person. It can be any number of people, but they are all equally important. You should get to know your first employees very, very well. Your employees are your core. They are the people who are taking the startup journey with you.

    1. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. All of them. It will help you to determine the role each will play in the development of your business.
    2. Know how they handle stress. It’s an inevitable consequence of being involved in a startup. Know exactly how your team will react when things get crazy.
    3. Know that your employees can match your level of passion, dedication, tenacity and focus. The success of the business should be just as high on their lists of priorities as it is on yours. Find those employees who believe in what you’re working towards and who are willing to work hard each and every day to see it become a reality.

These five people you need to know are important when launching your business and they will continue to play a vital role in the growth of your company. Have mutual trust and solid relationships with these individuals and when hardships and challenges come your way, you can rest assured knowing they will be there to support you no matter what happens. These five people are your safety net—so choose wisely. 

Franchising 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Opening Your Very First Franchise

Written by Bobby Miller on . Posted in Start a Business

You want to be a business owner, but you don't have a solid business plan or idea of your own. You're out of luck, right? Wrong. Although your head may not be in the right place, your heart might be. This is where the opportunity of being a franchisee comes into play. Nowadays, franchises come in all shapes and sizes, categories and fields. From restaurants to health clubs, a large majority of major retail brands (and those on the rise) offer franchisee opportunities. As with starting any business, there are perks & inherent risks involved in starting a franchise of your very own.

Franchising Pros:

  • UFOC: The franchisor is required to disclose all fees and costs in the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC), which they must provide prior to any purchase. The UFOC will clue you in on what these costs and fees are. The question about whether these costs are reasonable is more difficult to answer because it involves a perception of value. The secret to answering this question is to focus on the big picture of the opportunity from your perspective.
  • Upfront costs: Franchising does not cost as much upfront as a unique startup business. The average initial franchise fee for a single unit is about $20,000 to $35,000. That’s the same as buying a new car, only the car can’t give you an increase on your investment. However, just like cars, this price varies greatly depending on the profile of the franchise you are interested in. Sometimes franchising fees can be as low as $10,000. On the other hand, franchises can cost up to $100,000+.
  • Established brand: When becoming a franchisee, one of the biggest perks is the ability to inherit an established brand. This alone fosters immediate hype and generates a business fan base that often sets a franchise up for success within the first year. TakeMcDonald’s for example.  Even with the negative health stigma that often surrounds this fast-food chain, patrons of the popular eatery know that no matter where in the world they go, they can expect the same product from any McDonald’s chain (from the French fries to the kid’s toys).

Franchising Cons:

  • Royalties or ongoing franchise fees: Franchisees usually pay an ongoing franchise fee or royalty. This fee is normally expressed as a percentage of the gross revenue of the franchised business, but can also be a fixed periodic amount such as $500 per month, regardless of revenue. These costs can quickly stack up if you don't account for them prior to opening the franchise.
  • Marketing fees: Another cost that can arise when opening a franchise are marketing fees. Franchises often require participation in a common advertising or marketing fund. This fund is frequently a national program, but it can also have a regional or local market focus. This is where we often hear the term “prices and participation may vary”.  As with royalty fees, marketing fees can be a fixed contribution, but are more often a percentage of revenue in the 1 to 4 percent range. On a positive note, franchise marketing fees are often a welcome cost because they allow a franchisor to steer clear from running their own marketing campaigns (talk about a time saver!).
  • Failure: This one is obvious. As with all startup businesses, entrepreneurial endeavors and franchises, there is always a chance that the venture will not succeed.  Keep in mind the idea that many entrepreneurs apply to their day-to-day lives: “If it were easy, everyone would do it!”  Even Robert F. Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

So what can be taken away from this?  Franchises, depending on the brand, can be a worthwhile investment to build a future for yourself and others. Like any investment, you start with hopes of getting back more than you put in. Whether or not you do is up to the market.

7 Ways to Build a Positive, Professional Business Image

Written by Allison Way on . Posted in Start a Business

Startups can be cool, edgy and downright techy.  But at the same time, a new startup needs to ooze with professionalism—after all, startups want to land good business too.  And the only way to do that is by being responsive, eager and of course, professional.

Is your startup practicing proper professionalism?  Be sure to check off these 7 ways to build a positive, professional business image and your startup is sure to get the reputation it deserves!

  1. Nail down your logo and slogans from the get-go

    A startup tends to look scatter-brained if its constantly changing its logo and slogans.  Professional and consistent slogans and logos that are to-the-point can brand your business and build consumer awareness.  Once you have fully decided on a logo design and effective slogan, you must consistently incorporate the two of them into every aspect of your business—from your website to your promo items, from your letterhead to your signage.  The more your consumers see your brand, the more they will remember it!  For more information about choosing your business’s logo and slogan check out the Top 5 Characteristics of a Great Logo.  
     
  2. Create a kick-butt media kit and package

    Incorporate important aspects of your new business into a media kit and print identity package.  This includes business cards, letter stationary, receipts, envelopes, estimate forms, presentation folders, marketing brochures, catalogs, simple fliers and account statements.  This package will also include your color scheme, logo, slogan and font style. 
     
  3. Launch a professional website

    Every business needs a website.  In fact, your online presence is one of the most important aspects of your overall business and marketing strategy.  Take the time to carefully plan what your site will look like, how you want its features to work and how it will help you achieve your marketing objectives. 
     
  4. Write consistent emails

    Email is one of the strongest forms of communication in the workplace today.  But because of their consistency and popularity, many startups treat them in unprofessional ways.  Be sure that you are addressing clients and customers in the professionally and that you’re taking the time to look over any typos or errors.  Other quick and easy tips?  Don’t send unsolicited emails, use your business name, avoid acronyms, keep it simple and brief, check your spam inbox, and don’t rely on email for every interaction—phones exist for a reason!
     
  5. Dress for success

    Just because you’re a startup doesn’t mean you can roll into work in your pajamas.  The better you dress, the more productive you’ll be!  When you have an important meeting with a potential client or investor, always remember to dress to impress!  For more tips, read What Not to Wear...in the Office. 
     
  6. Try out business competitions

    It doesn’t hurt to try!  Expose your new startup even further by entering into business plan competitions.  As Entrepreneur.com says, winning business, product and customer service awards is a fantastic way to earn credibility, attract new business and build a great business image and reputation.  Check out local newspapers, community business groups, industry associations and event calendars to get in touch with local and national business competitions.  You don’t know what can happen until you try!
     
  7. Choose a professional work environment

    Finally, it is important to choose a work environment, office or workspace that gives your startup a professional vibe.  Be sure to check out coworking spaces, business incubators and other office spaces to give your startup a positive, motivational and professional environment.  Although working from the home is cost-effective, it may not be the best place to meet with clients or potential investors.  At the very least, book your important meetings at a rentable meeting room (many coworking spaces have them!). 

5 Scary Legal Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Written by Allison Way on . Posted in Start a Business

Hiring employees. Branding a company. Developing a marketing strategy. These are the exciting parts of starting up a business that everybody wants to do. But what about the hairy stuff? The stuff we try to avoid? You have to get around to it eventually, but what direction should you go?

Entrepreneurs are often stopped in their free-flowing track5 SCs when they come upon legal mistakes that they made when starting up their businesses. So how will you avoid making legal mistakes that so many others, just like you, seem to fall into? Be aware of these 5 scary legal mistakes before you find yourself in a bind!

  1. Making deals without putting pen to paper.
    Casual, free-flowing, handshake deals seem great at first. But they often lead to outcomes that do not go according to plan. Be sure to put your business deals in writing every time. Without putting deals in writing, entrepreneurs and clients may not know what to expect from one another. Keep a written document for every relationship that your business enters into. This will protect you from loss of time, money and of course, potential lawsuits.
     
  2. Bringing in partners without bringing in signatures.
    Because many partners tend to be long-time business colleagues, friends or even family, oftentimes, partnership agreements get lost in the mix during the chaos of starting a business. Take a look at The Social Network (movie) for example. A shaky partnership can turn sour very quickly. No matter how well you get along with your business partners, you need a legally binding agreement just in case. Sign these agreements early (just in case the relationship takes a turn for the worse in the future). Put in writing issues like who owns what, who has what power and what to do in case of buyout.
     
  3. Making a partnership without the correct numbers.
    According to Entrepreneur Magazine, a 50-50 partnership usually does not work. The magazine states that "...when issues arise – like whether to bring on new investors – somebody has to be able to make an executive decision. If you deadlock on a major decision and nobody budges, the company is frozen in limbo unless one of you buys out the other." Even a 51-49 split is a better decision than 50-50.
     
  4. Filing a trademark without the research.
    One way to take 18 steps backwards when starting up a business is by filing a trademark without doing heavy research beforehand. If you invest in a brand and then learn that someone else came up with it first, you could lose a lot of money. Do research with the Patent and Trademark Office, in business directors, on domain-companies and the Canadian Intellectual Property office. It's also important to look at that state level, since each has its own registry.
     
  5. Choosing a business structure without knowing what you're talking about.
    Sure, LLC and Inc. may look good at the end of your business name, but do you know what the difference between the two is? It is important to do your research before you determine your business's structure. You can choose sole proprietorship, S-Corp or limited liability company—but which one is for you? Many business professionals recommend incorporation in most cases. Incorporations show customers, banks and investors that you're serious about being in business for the long haul.

8 Ways to Find Your Biggest Competitors

Written by Allison Way on . Posted in Start a Business

They're out there—and they may be watching you. It's your competitors. and they're just as hungry for customers as you are. But what tools should you use to find them? A simple Google search won't cut it anymore. Here are 10 tips to use when researching your competitors:

  1. Research Online
    This seems like a no-brainer. But like we mentioned earlier, a simple Google search won't quite cut it. It's more beneficial to use all of the online resources that are available—not just Google. Use other search sites like SpyFu (LINK- http://www.spyfu.com/), Google Trends or Google Alerts. Even better—use all three.
  2. Use Social Networks
    Some of the most interesting tidbits from your competitors may be found in the social networking world. Follow your competitors on Twitter and keep an eye on what they're tweeting about. Additionally, check out your competitor's blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedIn sites, and Yelp reviews. Subscribing to your competitor's newsletters and e-mails can't hurt either.
  3. Be a Reporter
    Check up on your competitors both online and offline. Use an analyst firm like Gartner to conduct research and studies that evaluate your potential and current competitors.
  4. Ask your Suppliers
    A lot of small businesses use the same suppliers as their competitors. Try talking to your suppliers about who else they do business with. When you take the time to get to know your suppliers (which you should do regardless), they may give you information about who the main competitors might be and what they're ordering.
  5. Look at the Gaps
    Keep an eye out for what positions your competitors are trying to fill. Look at their employee requirements and it will give you a good look into what the company is all about. Looking at what your competitors are hiring for is also beneficial. For example, if they're looking for a patent attorney, they may be working on some new inventions.
  6. Survey
    Want a formal report? Conduct a survey to find out who your competitors are. Hire an outside company that conducts surveys. Have them ask your competitors what their prices are, how they handle their sales requests, and what they specialize in. This can help you differentiate your company from your competitor's.
  7. Ask the Customers
    Some of the best information about your competitors can be found from their past or current customers. If you find a new customer interested in your services, ask if they had used somebody prior to you for similar reasons. Then continue to ask why they came to you. This will differentiate what they're looking for and perhaps what the competitors are falling short on.
  8. Contact Them!
    Sometimes, the best way to get the information that you want is to just pick up the phone and ask. You may be surprised what you can learn directly from the company you wish to learn more about. But be cautious! It's best to be honest when you call up your competitors about who you are.

Don't just type a few words into Google and call it quits. Use these 10 easy tips when researching your competitors. Most of them are extremely inexpensive and very easy to do.

10 Business Fads to Keep Your Eye Out For

Written by Genevieve Alander on . Posted in Start a Business

Collectively followed with enthusiasm, a short product life cycle and complete consumer obsession is none other than a fad. Fads come in with a bang, but quickly go out of style. Several popular consumer products and businesses are actually fads- they will not be around forever. So catch 'em while you can!

These business ideas are going strong right now, but are they here to stay?

  1. Cupcakes: Cupcakes stores, cupcake companies, cupcake competitions, cupcake obsessions! Looking for a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth? Look no further. Cupcake shops are popping up on every street corner. Flavor of the day, customizable individual cakes and bright icing attract kids and parents alike. Here to stay? Not so much- although cupcakes are a yummy dessert, spending $4-$6 on one single cake is not going to stick around forever.
  2. Silly Bandz: Silly Bandz are the rage of the year. Kids everywhere have their arms half-sheltered by these bright stretchy bracelets, which sell for only $5 for a pack of 24. Silly Bandz bracelets are shaped like animals and other fun figures, so that when kids take them off, they can trade one another for different shapes. Kids swap them like they did Pokémon cards 10 years ago, which may be foreshadowing that Silly Bandz will not last forever.
  3. Angry Birds: This Smartphone application is being used at an all-time high. Although it sounds childish and it presents cartoon characters, it has proven to be an addicting game for thousands of users. "Angry Birds" makes you use a catapult to fling birds and knock down evil green pigs. Sounds fun, right?
  4. Fine Featherheads: Purple, pink, black, blue- take your pick. Add a feather extension to your hair to have a little extra flair! Young girls to professional adults are rocking the new feather extensions for a small kick to the normal hair-do. Even celebrities are sporting the new featherhead look. Cute? Yes. Are girls going to have them in 5 years? Probably not.
  5. Snuggie: An oversized fleece blanket with sleeves- who would have known it would be such a hit? With the original sales from TV advertising, Snuggies have gone viral. The Snuggie is a simple concept that captivates diehard couch potatoes. People aren't too scared to bear their Snuggie in public either. Snuggies have been spotted in sports games, movie theatres and even political rallies.
  6. Shake Weight: For only $19.95 and 6 minutes a day, you will have significantly stronger arms with the Shake Weight! What was once ridiculed at first for being a silly workout gadget, the Shake Weight has made a name for itself. Demonstrated on popular television shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, this arm sculptor has gain popularity nationwide. But will the fad last?
  7. Frozen Yogurt: Needing something that is lighter and more refreshing than ice cream? The frozen yogurt industry has got your back. Once a popular trend in the 1980's, the second round is back. Storefronts such as Pinkberry and Red Mango are crowding the streets. But here's the catch- the frozen yogurt industry is becoming such a crowded market that some stores are already going out of business.
  8. Triathlon/Running Stores: The push to get up and get moving towards a more active lifestyle is growing. 5K, half-marathon and marathon registrations are higher than ever. With this movement, upscale triathlon and running stores are booming with the trend. Selling innovative products such as Vibram 5 Fingers and water belts, you will find more groundbreaking gear here than your average sports store. However, prices are much higher and people must stick with training if we don't want these active stores to shut down.
  9. Sushi: A popular place to grab a cocktail and some unique food nowadays is none other than a sushi restaurant. Although sushi has been a Japanese staple for centuries, the restaurant industry has put a new twist on it. Sushi restaurants all over the states are known for their hip and cool atmosphere while offering an Asian fusion. What better way to enjoy happy hour, a business lunch or a date night than grabbing some sushi?
  10. 3-D Movies: Every time you walk into a movie theatre, ushers seem to hand you a pair of glasses for a 3-D experience. If you don't want to sport the colorful specs they give you then you are out of luck unless you want to watch a blurry screen. Will this technology trend stay?


So there you have it- the business fads of 2011. Enjoy them while you can. It was fun...while it lasted!

10 Perks Your Employees Will Love

Written by Laura Goede on . Posted in Start a Business

Everyone loves to be recognized for a job well done. As a small business owner or CEO of a business, you can help your employees feel appreciated and help them become more productive by giving them a few small rewards throughout each year. There are plenty of perks you can offer your employees to keep them working harder, more efficiently and with more passion. The following is a list of 10 great perks that will help keep office morale high.

1. Flexible Hours
Life is complex and stressful. Outside of work, most people are juggling family, friends and numerous activities. Show employees your understanding by allowing them to come in early so that they can get to their child's afternoon recital. If employees are willing to stay late, allow them to come in at noon so they can make their morning doctor appointment. Empower your employees to schedule their own lives so they can concentrate on doing their job. Flexible hours promote a positive work-life balance.

2. Unstructured Time
Outside of the day-to-day job tasks, set aside time for employees to work on their own research projects. Sometimes, the best ideas come from employees. Let them spend portion of their time developing new and improved ideas for your company. Google has experienced tremendous success by implementing the 20% rule in their corporate culture.

3. Dry Cleaning
On-site pickup and return of dry cleaning is easy to arrange and greatly appreciated by employees. Eliminate weekly errands to the dry cleaners for your employees and for yourself. You all can use this free time enjoying the things you really want to do.

4. Work from Home
Consider allowing employees to pick one day every month to work from home. They will appreciate being able to spend the day closer to family and avoid the hassle of commuting to the office.

5. Room to Relax
Make your office an enjoyable place for your employees to work. Have a designated room where employees can kick back, relax and rejuvenate during long workdays. A game room complete with a foosball table, Xbox or Wii system can give employees a place to go to clear their heads during a long workday.

6. Catered Lunch
A popular perk that many companies are beginning to offer is lunch. It is hard not to appreciate a good meal, especially when it is served in convenient proximity to your desk. If you can't swing daily lunch without breaking the bank, consider bringing in pizza every Friday or stocking the break room with an assortment of free beverages and snacks.

7. Gym Memberships
Offering a gym membership can benefit your employees and your company. A healthy and in-shape work force is likely to take less sick days off work. The benefit of exercise is the improvement of employee waistlines in conjunction with the company's bottom line.

8. Premium Parking
Offering a reserved parking spot located in close proximity to the office entrance is an excellent reward. If your employees take public transportation, you can offer to buy an annual bus or train pass.

9. Childcare
Onsite childcare is a beneficial perk that working parents love. Having a daycare or nursery at your company makes moms and dads feel better about going to work. The proximity allows them to visit their kids during breaks and gives them peace of mind.

10. Ask Employees What They Want
During particularly stressful (Article- Be an Entrepreneur – 5 Ways to Manage Stress) times around the office, offer your employees a little extra something to let them know how much you appreciate the extra hours they put in. Have your employees suggest what perks they would like to have. Perks might include office massages, yoga classes or free car washes.

There are plenty of ways to honor your employees' hard work and show them that you are grateful for it. Get creative and take cues from other companies in your industry. Try to tailor your perks to the specific wants and needs of your own employees. Remember: you don't have to spend a lot...it's the thought that counts!

8 Ways to Find Your Biggest Competitors

Written by Allison Way on . Posted in Start a Business

They're out there—and they may be watching you. It's your competitors, and they're just as hungry for customers as you are. But what tools should you use to find them? A simple Google search won't cut it anymore. Here are 10 tips to use when researching your competitors:

1. Research Online
This seems like a no-brainer. But like we mentioned earlier, a simple Google search won't quite cut it. It's more beneficial to use all of the online resources that are available—not just Google. Use other search sites like SpyFu (LINK- http://www.spyfu.com/), Google Trends or Google Alerts. Even better—use all three.

2. Use Social Networks
Some of the most interesting tidbits from your competitors may be found in the social networking world. Follow your competitors on Twitter and keep an eye on what they're tweeting about. Additionally, check out your competitor's blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedIn sites, and Yelp (www.yelp.com) reviews. Subscribing to your competitor's newsletters and e-mails can't hurt either.

3. Be a Reporter
Check up on your competitors both online and offline. Use an analyst firm like Gartner (LINK- http://www.gartner.com/technology/home.jsp) to conduct research and studies that evaluate your potential and current competitors.

4. Ask your Suppliers
A lot of small businesses use the same suppliers as their competitors. Try talking to your suppliers about who else they do business with. When you take the time to get to know your suppliers (which you should do regardless), they may give you information about who the main competitors might be and what they're ordering.

5. Look at the Gaps
Keep an eye out for what positions your competitors are trying to fill. Look at their employee requirements and it will give you a good look into what the company is all about. Looking at what your competitors are hiring for is also beneficial. For example, if they're looking for a patent attorney, they may be working on some new inventions.

6. Survey
Want a formal report? Conduct a survey to find out who your competitors are. Hire an outside company that conducts surveys. Have them ask your competitors what their prices are, how they handle their sales requests, and what they specialize in. This can help you differentiate your company from your competitor's.

7. Ask the Customers
Some of the best information about your competitors can be found from their past or current customers. If you find a new customer interested in your services, ask if they had used somebody prior to you for similar reasons. Then continue to ask why they came to you. This will differentiate what they're looking for and perhaps what the competitors are falling short on.

8. Contact Them!
Sometimes, the best way to get the information that you want is to just pick up the phone and ask. You may be surprised what you can learn directly from the company you wish to learn more about. But be cautious! It's best to be honest when you call up your competitors about who you are.

Don't just type a few words into Google and call it quits. Use these 10 easy tips when researching your competitors. Most of them are extremely inexpensive and very easy to do.

Bull's Eye! Defining and Finding Your Target Market

Written by Allison Way on . Posted in Start a Business

You love your product. Your mom loves your product. But 95% of the people you're talking to could care less about your business. This may be because they do not see the potential of the opportunity, they may think you're scamming them, or it may not be the right time for them to buy. But more often than not, the number one reason why people are not buying from you is because you're talking to the wrong type of person.

Targeting your market is a long process. But when done correctly, it can positively affect your ROI and turn your business or product into a success. When developing your business plan, it is important to keep your target market in mind. Therefore, you must conduct this target market research before launching your business or writing your business plan (some companies, however, may want to reevaluate their target market after they have launched):

1. Identify the solution that your product offers.
All new products or services answer a problem that currently exists in the world. Be sure to answer the question, "what solution does your product provide?" before even launching the business that you have in mind. This will not only help you to define your target market, but it will also determine whether or not your product is worth the risk.

2. Research your competition.
Who do your competitors market to? How do they market their products effectively? Who are their target markets? Look at what kind of traffic these websites are getting online by using sites like Quancast.

3. Survey your potential customers.
In order to effectively determine your target market, you must survey your potential (or current) clients and customers. When surveying and researching, ask your clients about their demographics (age, gender, education level, income level, marital status, family life, ethnic backgrounds, and religious backgrounds) and then make a customer demographic profile.

Additionally, it will be important to ask your customers about their psychographics (lifestyles [i.e., conservative or trendy], social class, opinion leaders or opinion followers, activities, interests, attitudes, and beliefs) and create a customer psychographic profile alongside your demographic profile.

4. Identify shopping patterns.
Finally, it is important to determine your target market's shopping patterns – after all, that is where you will be generating your revenue. Determine whether or not your customers like to buy online, over the phone or at the store. Will your product inspire a need for instant gratification or will your potential market be willing to wait a few days and receive the product via mail?

These four tips to determine your target market will save you money on advertising costs and will help you to see better ROI. Since you will be putting your product in front of the right people who are interested in what you have to offer, your business's chances of success can only increase.