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Or, maybe your business is such that sales fluctuate during year. How will you make it through lean months? Can you handle uncertainty?
So, how do you find information?
First, if other people provide services similar to yours, talk to them. You can gain a lot of information quickly. Their answers to your questions will save you a lot of legwork and open your eyes to factors you may not have considered.
You can find them through trade associations, schools, word-of-mouth. If locals are reluctant to share information - perhaps because they see you as direct competition, consider finding similar people in a different locale.
Second, create information you need.
Mimic and simplify what 'big boys' do. Reduce their methods down to a level that is practical and affordable.
For example, perhaps you want to survey potential clients and customers to get feedback.
It will probably be neither affordable nor practical to commission a focus group. But you may be able to speak to potential targets informally or use direct mail to send a simple survey.
Eventually you'll have to 'put your toe in water.' Try it out in a small way - so you won't lose much if it doesn't work - and observe results. Then experiment and modify as needed. Once it works to your liking you can plunge right in.
This approach, known by technical term "trial and error" can be applied to any facet of your business.
After all, even largest producers test market new products before rolling them out.
Put some parameters around your efforts. Decide, in advance, how much time you want to allow and how much you want to budget.
Then test, test, test.
Use trial and error for every aspect of your business. Experiment with different ways of packaging your services, different rates and prices, different types of marketing, etc.
You'll soon find that certain approaches work better than others. Eventually your data will suggest your strategies.
And then you'll be ready to create your business plan.
Ellen Zucker's website http://www.selfemployment101.com is designed to help the creative sole-proprietor earn a living and have a life.