As the spirit of enterprise keeps gaining momentum across Nigeria and Africa, I want to encourage startup founders and small business owners, to feel the pulse of their target market and ensure their ideas match the needs. As an entrepreneur, you might need to go back to the drawing table to reexamine what you are proposing to your prospective customers.
Do not just run with an idea that inspired you from New York, London, China or Toronto, translate the idea to have practical touch points with your target customers in your own primary market. Often times there is a tendency for entrepreneurs to be carried away with several sparks of foreign ideas, alien from their immediate environment. At the long run, their new product or service is hardly relatable and does not match the needs of clients.
If researches are too expensive for you, just pay closer attention to the lifestyle and behavioral patterns of people in your surroundings, engage in conversations and most importantly listen more. Also, study the ventures that are doing well and gain some market insights.
Have you observed how mobile phone retailers operate? Have you ever noticed the Supermarket and Fast Food Restaurant Chains? You should pay closer attention to them. Try to do a recollection of the strength of strong brands; remember Facebook thrives on the need for humans to connect, AirBnB thrives on accommodation (housing), Uber on physical cars, and so on. What is the point? Understand your local markets; housing, transportation/ticketing, health, finance, labour, fashion, education, etc. and plug your idea accordingly.
Making money is about the market, not what tickles your fancy. It should be registered in your mind that the essence of being in business is to satisfy the needs of longing customers who are always in search of a solution to their many problems. With this mindset, you will be meeting the demands of the market.
Before you think of going WIDE, first go DEEP. Test the waters, I believe that’s why the tech enthusiasts have what they call ‘beta’. Ensure you test your assumptions before you take the plunge. Carryout a proper market research, analyze and think through your innovation before it goes public. Whether it is a new idea or revamped one, tailor it to fit your target clientele.
Every entrepreneur has what it takes to churn out quality success stories, so remain encouraged in your pursuit. Finally, I leave this here;
“Innovation does not start with ideas but with customer insights” – Els Grabt
Written by Maple Dappa
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