Diving into a new business venture is a daunting task. There are so many variables that, even though you have a great plan or amazing skills, there is still the chance that your business could fail.

With all the hard work, effort and money that needs to go into starting a business, testing the waters beforehand is a protection against failure. It is also necessary once you have purchased an existing business, to test the waters of your new venture with you in the driver’s seat.

By doing this you can make any necessary changes or developments to your business before it’s make or break. This counts for all businesses from retail to the service industry.

Here are some ways that you can find out if you have a winning venture or not.

Research the competition

Make sure that you know what it is your customers are doing. Taking inspiration from existing businesses is fine, however, you need to ask yourself why customers would choose you over someone else.

What is it that you would be doing better than your competitors? How is it that you would be improving your service in comparison to your competitors?

Walk around your area and understand what it is that local businesses are offering. If there are certain businesses that are busier, work out why that is.

In order to get a view of a wider range of businesses, research and ask family and friends. Try to build a picture for yourself about successful versus unsuccessful businesses.

Try not to get too involved in what your customers are doing and lose focus on your own idea. However, knowing what’s out there is a good gauge of whether or not your business will succeed.

Understand your customers

Until you have asked them, you can’t really know who your customers will be and what they want. Market research is important for knowing if there is demand for your products or services and to find out who your customers are.

This is important because it will change the way that you market to them.

There are several ways to do market research. One of them is simply walking the main street and asking people. You could also set up a survey and send these out through social media.

If you offer people a prize or incentive, they may be more likely to spend time answering your questions. Your enthusiasm for your business and what it will bring to the community will also encourage people to spend time helping you—so remember to convey the energy of your business to your potential customers or client base!

Another way to get to know whether your customers will be happy paying for your goods or service is to set up a landing page. This is a one-page website that will give some information about your product and its price.

Include a call to action and a contact form that allows people to get in touch with you. This will help to gauge how many people are happy to pay for the product at the price that you suggested.

When your doors open

After you have opened up your new business and have customers coming through your doors, don’t let yourself become complacent. Ask your customers what they want. If you can give it to them, they’ll keep returning.

Whatever stage your business is at, knowing what your customers want will be vital to your success!

Author: Bruce Hakutizwi, USA and International Accounts Manager for BusinessesForSale.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling small and medium size businesses. Bruce has over 7 years’ experience working within the US business transfer marketplace connecting buyers and sellers.