Small businesses, especially when they start off, face a lot of financial problem. Spending bucks in every aspect is not a choice for them. They have to keep the screws tight and spend sparingly to avoid bankruptcy in the initial stages itself.
One of the most important aspects of business is to know your audience so that you understand what they are looking for. In other words, customer research is an absolute must right from the beginning. However, you really don’t need to spend a lot of money on customer research. Many companies do it but there is no reason for you to follow suit especially when there are cheaper options available.
Start talking to people, especially your potential audience, and get some answers. Get out of your friends and family circle and reach out to your potential customers. Talk to them about their problems, motivations, and think about solutions to their problems. I especially mentioned that you should branch out because family and friends may not supply accurate answers out of politeness.
You don’t need to conduct formal meetings every now and then. That is a good idea but it will compel you to spend. You can conduct informal meetings, instead. Talk to your potential audience and find a way to get them to interact with each other. Healthy discussions will help you bundles.
Talk to people who are well versed with your niche and industry. Of course your competitors will not give you suggestions but there are plenty others who are willing to help you out. Seek them.
You should try selling even before your product hits the market. Talk to your customers about it and see if it spurs their interest. See if they are willing to invest money even before you are ready to sell the product. That way you will have the word of mouth going. Plus, you will have some money to contribute to the production process. However, you have to be very careful here. Ethics must come into place and you should deliver what you promised.
You could look for investors. This will help you because those interested in investing will grill you with very difficult questions. You can use that grilling session to your advantage and improve your knowledge about what the market is looking for. Also, you might just bag an investor or too!
There are many ways to understand your customers. These are some of the cheapest and most effective ways.
Customer research and feedback are vital but that does not mean that you spend copious amounts of money on gathering information. You can get substantial amount of information even without spending a lot of money.