Many people have an idea to make money but don’t know what to do next. There is a common saying:-
“Ideas are cheap, taking action is priceless”multiple sources
So – if you have followed our previous post on the topic of “How to get started as an Entrepreneur“, you hopefully now have a whole list of ideas to make money and you’re ready to take action!
BUT – before you rush off and spend time (and maybe money) getting started on your entrepreneurship journey, there are some things you need to think through a little more.
The VERY FIRST question you need to answer is “WHO is your customer?”
This might sound like a very simple question but it is arguably the most important question for EVERY entrepreneur to get right. Too many people fail at this very first step by answering “but everyone is my customer”.
I’m sorry to tell you but if you think everyone is your customer then you WILL struggle to get ANYONE as a customer!
So please pay attention to this important step otherwise your great idea to make money will never get you anywhere.
Write down WHO your “ideal customer” is, while thinking about:-
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- In what area / country (geography)?
- In the city, suburbs out out or rural areas?
- In an apartment, house, shared with or without family?
- How do they spend their time on most days?
- Do they have a job?
- Are they still at school?
- Are they out of work or retired?
- What do they do during their free time?
- What do they love doing (and would do more of if they had more free time)?
- What problems and challenges do they face in their life?
- How will what you have to offer help them overcome those problems or “fill a gap” in their life?
- What is important to them?
- Who do they trust for advice?
- Where do they find information about the things they want or need to spend money on?
- Do they use social media? If so, which platforms, what do they use them for and how often?
- Where do they buy things from?
The formal term for this is to “define your target customer persona”. Most businesses have 3 to 5 customer personas that they target (sometimes these are different per product they offer but you don’t need to worry about that right now). You can find many different and far more detailed customer persona templates by searching online if you want to do this formally, but the above list is a good place to start.
Just write down everything you can think about this “ideal person” that would be interested in what you have to offer – it often helps to think of someone you know personally while answering these questions.
Now the second most important question to answer is “WHO will pay?” for what you have to offer.
No, this isn’t a trick question!
- If your idea to make money is to sell toys for children ………. it is likely that the parents, friends and relatives of the children will be the ones that pay, NOT the child!
- If your idea to make money is to make healthy meals for elderly people that are not able to cook for themselves anymore, then maybe this is something their children will pay for so that they will be confident to know their parents are eating healthily
- If your idea to make money is to create, source or sell unusual jewellery,then perhaps it will be husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends or relatives that will actually be the ones that pay to give the jewellery as gifts!
- If your idea to make money is to create an course to teach a skill to people, then perhaps a Company would pay for you to teach this skill to its employees, instead of the individuals paying for it themselves. (This is actually one of the ways that nzria’s founders earn a living!!)
- If your idea to make money is to start a website or create an online community of any kind, then perhaps it’s advertisers and other companies that will pay you and not your community members or website visitors.
So you need to consider WHO your customer is and also WHO your REAL customer is – and BOTH of these are equally important to consider for the next step of your journey. (At this point you might need to go back and add to your “customer personas” to include the “real customer” if that is relevant for you.)
This is of course much easier when your target customer IS the same person that will pay you for what you are offering but you will be surprised how many people overlook this simple step in their thinking!
Once you have identified who your customers are, you are ready to move onto the next step on your entrepreneurship journey – working out HOW you will make money (your “business model” in formal terms) – which might not be as simple as you think as many people overlook some pretty basic elements of how much (or how little) money their idea could make.
Your next steps will involve:-
- Working out how much / how many of a product of service you need to sell for it to be worth your while to take action on your idea
- Doing a simple (low cost) test to see if people are in fact willing to pay for what you have to offer
- Making decisions based on the results of the test
Watch out for the next post in the series (link to be added soon).