October
18
2011

-MAURITZ BEKKER-

As you all know by now, a viable business opportunity is simply an economic solution to a problem, which customers are willing to buy and with which you can make a profit!

You also know that in order to find business opportunities, you’ll need to talk to people and listen to their problems.  Problems are like diamonds and economic solutions are similar to the process of mining the diamonds – cut and polish them in order to sell them.  You should therefore always look for problems to be solved in your domain of interest/talents/abilities (passion).

There is however a critical step needed in the process before you could turn problems into viable economic solutions. I am sure you have guessed right….. We have to do market research in order to find out (1) if your customers will be willing to buy the solution you are offering and (2) what they are willing to pay for a specific solution.

The first step in our market research process is always the construction of a research questionnaire.  The questions to ask as a starting point will be centered around (1) the solution (product/service), (2) the price the potential customers are willing to pay.  Therefore, you need to start your questionnaire by asking the potential customers (prospects) if he/she will be willing to buy the new economic solution (product/service).  Be very specific and try to explain what this product/service can do for the prospect.  In other words, how it will solve the problem(s) they have.

The second important question to ask is regarding the price the prospect is willing to pay for this specific economic solution (product/service).  In starting to find the “market price” (right price) always begin with a high price.  If they are willing to pay this price, you’ll be able to make a killing.  If they are not willing to pay your “high” price, but are interested in buying the solution, you can now ask them what they are willing to pay.  These answers will give you a very good idea of what the market price should be.  In other words, the “price” questions should be in two phases.  The 1st question will therefore be as follows:

Question:  Are you willing to pay R x (Test your potential customer’s willingness to buy with the highest probable price) for the specific product/service (provide a clear description) you plan to sell.

If the answer to this question is no, the follow-up question should read as follow:

Question: How much are you willing to pay for this specific product/service? (The answers to this question will provide you with the real market value for your solution.)

The other important critical factor for reliable market research findings, is to make sure that your sample represents the real market out there.  In order to make sure about this, you’ll have to make sure you are not bias in selecting the sample members, and also make sure that the sample size is big enough.

(If you are an EBS student and you are confident with the sampling process re-visit the section “How to determine that your sample represents the market segment “, in Module 3 of your study manual).

The ability to present reliable market research findings, to a possible investor, is often the only concrete evidence an entrepreneurs, without sufficient security  can provide.  If you can prove that a product/service will sell, you will make it much easier for an investor to give you a loan!!


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2 Responses

  1. This is good information for entrepreneurs, because they need all the help they can get to take the next step.

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