Business Lesson – Know Your Demographics

Otherwise, you may struggle.

Think finding a man is tough? So do the folks who make a business out of arranging dates. Men now make up 60% of visitors to online personals sites, where users can troll anonymously with little commitment, financial or otherwise. But for myriad reasons, they remain a much tougher sell for higher-end matchmaking services, which usually subject participants to extensive face-to-face interviews that require personal information upfront, such as home phone numbers, place of work and a Social Security number. These interviews also tend to weed out those inclined to fib about anything from their weight to whether they have a spouse at home. (About 10% of Internet-personals users are not single, according to a recent Nielsen/NetRatings study.)

This is exactly why you have to be crazy to start your own business. You have to know your market demographics and sometimes that means pestering people and asking a million questions and repeatedly re-evaluating your knowledge based on the new things you learn. You can't just buy a mailing list or some Census based demographic analysis and say "oh well now I know." With all that is on the line, you have to be out there making sure that the person you think is your target customer really does exist, and really does fall into the demographic category you think he/she does.

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