In previous articles of this business startup series, I guided you through the following:

  1. Finding a good business idea worth further researching
  2. Planning your business from the correct angle
  3. Creating your list of products and services

Today, we’re going to examine which customer groups would be interested in your products and services. Most of the time, this requires external research. The purpose of such research is to validate the assumptions you have, or invalidate them. After you’re done, you should be able to tell whether there is an opportunity to pursue, or if it’s just not worth it.  Here is what you need to do:

  1. Determine the current market state:
    1. Describe the market size in terms of combined revenue. How much revenue is this market generating?
    2. List the major companies in this market, and how they differentiate themselves
    3. Observe trends that are transforming this market
    4. Identify specific groups that have different expectations. 
  2. Know your target: Who would benefit the most from your services? The key here is to specialize enough in order to differentiate yourself, but not to the extent that your target market becomes very small, therefore not profitable.
  3. Disrupt the market: How do you plan to change things to your favor? How will you convince people to choose your services instead of someone else’s.

I have pasted below a relevant excerpt of a business plan I wrote for one of my projects, which is to educate Lebanese people make money through the internet. This is a physical example of what you should be doing.

The Lebanese Economy has always suffered from lack of opportunities for fresh graduates. Many of those people become unemployed, take a lower-paid, less challenging job, or travel abroad in order to seek better opportunities.

With the recent advancements in internet speeds and penetration rates in Lebanon, it has become possible for people to use the internet as a medium to generate income, in the same way that Indians, Russians and others use the internet in order to generate billions of dollars annually. However, rare are Lebanese people who have the skills required to make this happen because starting an online business requires skills which are different that those of creating offline businesses.

The Internet School aims to fill the gap between using the internet and generating income from the internet, by providing the average internet user with educational material which will help them learn the skills required in order to make money online. The founder, Samer Bechara, is a self-taught internet business owner, who has spent the last seven years figuring out how to make money online. Therefore, he is able to help the regular Lebanese guy make money online, since he has been on that path before.

Notice how I am targeting fresh graduates who are seeking better opportunities, and have the required technical skills in order to make good use of the internet. A trend which made this business opportunity possible is the recent advancement in internet speed. Otherwise, this would have been a very hard task to achieve.

In my next article, I will be discussing your sales strategy. In other words, how to turn interested people into customers.  Stay tuned!