As a business owner, you’ll know that one of the first things you need to do before selling products or services is determine who your target audience is. However, it can be challenging to identify this demographic’s demand in the market if you are not included in it.
Let’s put it this way: if you are in your late 20’s / early 30’s, starting your very first beauty salon, targeting middle-aged women who would benefit most from the treatments you offer, you might face an unobtrusive hurdle. You may understand what middle-aged women want in principle, but since you are not a part of that demographic, your understanding will very likely be limited enough to make a big difference.
It’s easy to clear such hurdles when your first customer is someone you fundamentally understand – yourself! It can save you on marketing costs and ensure that you start with a solid product offering since you won’t have to work nearly as hard to understand what your buyer persona (your general customers) want and need. After all it is very easy to draw from your own interests and experiences – at least it should be!
Solve a Problem
Many of the most successful business owners were not aiming to achieve over-abundant wealth when they started out – they simply had or saw a problem and created a solution for it. More often than not, a problem they themselves experienced constantly.
One such example is Julie Haught, founder of the “No Flap Ear Wrap”. She had no intention of creating a business, but her rescue dog needed to wear a collar and some bandages after having undergone surgery. In an attempt to prevent him from ripping open his stitches, she created a prototype of her ear wrap. When she took her dog to have his stitches removed, the vet encouraged her to start selling them. The rest is history!
This is one of many analogous stories. It illustrates just how beneficial it can be to be your own first customer. Without driving yourself crazy worrying about how you will market and/or sell your products, simply determine what the gap in the market is, and fill it.
EMS technology, for example, is high on the rise right now. People are starting to realise the benefits of using electric stimulus to solve problems such as stubborn fat and cellulite build-up, and its uses are becoming increasingly popular in beauty salons.
Reaching out to Friends and Family
Once you have established what you are bringing to the table, it is time to start reaching out to the people in your social circles. Chances are that you have similar interests, so you can use them as focus groups to market your ideas to in exchange for feedback.
Those closest to you will be able to provide insight and perceptions that will allow you to save on resources that would have otherwise been spent finding random participants. Your focus groups will likely also be a part of your demographic, so their feedback will also represent others in your target audience.
Keep on Growing
When you’ve managed to grow, expand and redefine your business, it is crucial never to forget your humble beginnings. The analogy of a server makes this idea easy to understand:
When a server eats at a restaurant, they understand how important it is to be a good tipper because they are in the same shoes, and they know how much a good tip can mean to the person delivering the food to the table.
However, as they start climbing up the ladder, for example becoming a manager, they might lose sight of what it felt like to rely on other people’s tips to make a living, because they are so caught up with their own world.
With that analogy in mind, remember that your business started by solving a problem you had, not to sacrifice basic principles in favour of expanding a business.
This strategy, while not the only one that has been proven to reap success, is definitely a step in the right direction, especially for new beauty salon owners. It teaches you to start from something small, solving problems for yourself and perhaps even for your friends and family, and profiting from it.