Know your customers. Define your target market.

What does it mean to define a target market?

From the moment you came up with your business idea, you probably had a specific customer in mind. When you tweak your service or product, you do it with them in mind. When you write your promos, you highlight the features that will interest them most – and use language that they get.

This is a great way to think. It gives focus to everything you do. But you’re probably making a lot of assumptions about what your target customers really want, and how much they want it. When you define your target market, you’re doing a little research to make sure you’re not misleading yourself about who’s going to spend money with you.

When to do it

It’s a good idea to define your target market before launching your business. The exercise will help you test a lot of assumptions before you sink too much money into the wrong things. It’s a lot less expensive to change direction at this early stage.

But even if you’ve been in business for years, it’s helpful to keep defining your target market to stay in touch with who your customers are.

What will you know at the end?

Defining a target market can give you three important pieces of information.

  • Is there a market? Dig around and see if there’s enough demand to sustain your business. Are people (or businesses) buying your category of product? What portion of that market is gettable for you?

  • Who's in the market? Once you’ve confirmed there are customers out there, start to get more focused. Who are those people?

  • What's their age? Do they have certain types of jobs? Where are t