The other night a few of us from Just in Time Direction had the opportunity to present at a community event. We had a small crowd and we were able to have some great conversation about what it takes to really run a small business in DuPage County.
I was struck by how easy it is to get stuck in the details of our own problems and forget that our business lives as a part of the larger community. It is important to stay connected. If all we ever hear are sound bytes on the radio or on our twitter feed, we can think we know and understand things but do we really? In my experience, it is when our ideas are tested as part of a conversation that we really learn.
This is true of our business ideas too – they have to ‘meet the market’ and be tested.
Take your idea and start talking it, see how people respond. Start with your friends, your family, your inner circle. Finding out how the market responds to your ideas before you spend too much time (and energy and money!) is essential.
I think conversations are really the market research for small business owners.
Of course, you do have to be careful – sometimes even your closest companions can criticize your ideas. But here you have an opportunity – ask yourself “is this person really my customer?” Why or why not? So again, market research.. who is your customer? How does he or she respond to my offering?
The conversation is the market research of small business. When is your next focus group?