Author’s Note: This is the second in my series of “Marketing From The Front” blog posts for If you missed the previous blog post: “How to Get Started With Your Marketing Planning”, click here to find it.

Once you’ve accumulated your knowledge about the specific business you intend to start, you’ll quickly realize that there are a number of ways you can go to start creating some revenue.

How do you decide which path to take first?

We recommend that you use three steps to focus your marketing direction.

Find a Problem

People and businesses face problems every day. Some problems or challenges are relatively minor, like which type of drink to order at Starbucks. But, some are more serious and thoughtful such as,“how do I find a trustworthy companion for my 80-year old mother?”

One of the reasons you believe that you are skilled in some specific task or talent around which you want to build your business is because you know that you have used this skill in the past to solve problems, most likely for a corporate employer. You may have even won awards for doing so.

So, sit down with a blank pad of paper and start to write down the problems, challenges or needs you have helped solve or satisfy in the past.

This will probably take several sessions to do, as our memories often work as a progression of thoughts, not all at once.

Once you feel you have 3-5 legitimate problems, rank them from most important to a potential customer to less important.

Now, using the number one most important problem, challenge or need, let’s move on to the next step.

Get Some Feedback

You think you know which problem is most important to potential customers or clients. And you are probably right.

But, before you move forward any further, it is valuable to get some feedback from other living, breathing people.

Devise a plan to identify and approach 3-5 consumers or 3-5 corporate managers (depending on which group you primarily intend to sell to) and ask if you can have twenty minutes of their time to check out some business assumptions that you making.

If you choose to use friends, make sure you ask them to brutally honest and not hold back their opinion. Otherwise you can end up acting on faulty information.

State the problem, challenge or need that you think is most important and ask for their opinion, both on the existence of the problem and on its importance.

You will likely hear pretty much what you already believe, but you may also learn about a point of view that permits you to tweak your description of the problem.

Devise a Solution

If you describe it in a compelling manner, prospective customers will be impressed with your skills and experience.

But what gets them to buy is how they answer the age-old question: “what’s in it for me?”

Simply put: people and businesses pay for solutions to problems.

Combining what you already know about the problem with the input you received from your survey groups, you now need to write out specific action steps you will take in your business to present a compelling solution. For each action step you want to write out at least one benefit bestowed upon the customer from the specific action step you are taking.

For example, let’s say that your company intends to offer home health care workers to families looking to provide support for an older family member. The three questions a potential buyer might have in mind when looking at this kind of service are:

1. How do I know that I can trust the home health care worker to truly care for my relative and to be honest when in our house?

2. How do I go about describing and arranging for specific kinds of help?

3. How much will I pay and how is the payment handled?

Most potential customers won’t remember more than 3 key benefits at any given time so make sure that your solution doesn’t present more than that number.

Jeff Williams is CEO of Bizstarters, a nationally-known provider of business start-up and business growth coaching. He is pleased to offer MyCorporation blog readers his “Marketing Evaluation Checklist” which leads you through a comprehensive evaluation of each part of your marketing system. For your free copy, visit the official Bizstarters site today.