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THE WORLD IS MY CUSTOMER (and that is why my biz will die)

THE WORLD IS MY CUSTOMER (and that is why my biz will die)

Govind was gung ho. He had just launched a mint-fresh start-up. A product that the world will love. The need of the moment. He knew he had the pulse. His gut was egging him on, and his gut was always right. A product that will fill the needs and wants of everyone! 

So, Govind went about and raised funds from friends and family. Being such a nice guy and a straight-A student, all of them loved Govind.

Twelve months in, Govind was distraught. He had no clue why his business was failing. He had tried all the tricks of the trade. His product was top-notch. He reached out to everyone, every single contact. The world should have loved and lapped up his product. 

Nothing like that was happening. The only two clients he had were also piloting. There was no money in the bank and the business.

There was no way Govind could raise more money. 

He was facing a bust and could not look into the mirror. How will he answer all those who put in money?

Why do you think Govind's business failed?

There is only one primary reason. The big clue is in the title of the article.

Let us look at another example here: A SALAD DELIVERY SERVICE

Takkar Dabba is an experiment. It is a venture to test the market before expanding the launch area. It is a micro business. The purpose of this venture was to introduce entrepreneurship to Vijay, a visually challenged person who is interested in setting up a food business.

Let's understand what Takkar Dabba is: It is a service and support agency to provide healthy food options, specifically salads and sundal (a mix of lentils).

Why food? 

It is Vijay's interest area, and he believes there will be a constant need for it. 

What kind of food?

A healthy snack – something local, something different.

For whom?

Working professionals in the youth and extended youth category. 22-40 age category.

Where? 

For the micro-market, companies in and around the area where Vijay works and where his support system exists – Four streets of Abhiramapuram, an area in Chennai, India.

How? 

Through two outreach methods (mentioned later).

When? 

Ideation to planning to field testing in four weeks.

What is Takkar Dabba about?

Vijay sources and coordinates the delivery of healthy boxes to clients who have this craving, especially between 4-5 PM on working days.

Clients: Who, again? 

There are 34 business establishments in four streets of Abhiramapuram, Chennai, India. The approximate working professionals here are about 1400. Of that, about 850 fit the age target.

Vijay narrowed down his initial approach list to two sets: 

(A) Five companies and their Human Resources division 

(B) Ten individuals through common connections in the area

He explained the concept and asked them permission to leave samplers for three days. Vijay explained the purpose was: To solicit feedback on the products, the taste, packaging, and if any changes were required. He was open and mentioned that this is an entrepreneurship trial period for him, where he was testing the waters on the need and the solution.

Vijay's think tank included chefs, marketers, designers, operational resources, AND THE FIVE CLIENTS. His approach team included the auto-rickshaw drivers in the area and two CEOs who supported his initiative. His support team helped him develop the name, logo, business plan, and associated financials. Vijay adopted the "Mumbai dabbawalas" model and procured metal containers to supply the salads and sundal. 

With only four streets to cover, the logistical aspects were not too complicated. After some experimentation and checking the acceptance range from the initial set of clients, the pricing was arrived at. Ordering would be on a subscription basis, with WhatsApp being the primary point of contact, ordering, and confirmation. Digital payment options would make it easier to operate.

This is Takkar Dabba's initial micro-market – clear, precise, specific, and geo-bound. A market where all tests can take place before expanding the market by four more streets.

This example explains the concept of a micro-market.

WHAT IS A MICRO-MARKET?

A micro-market is a curated set of target clients.

Micromarketing is a strategy where marketing efforts are focused on this narrow set of target clients; all activities are defined by and for this set.

We must dream big, but we need to start with small measurable actions and small wins.

The first step to convert your ideas into a product or a solution is to arrive at your micro-market.

Taking the case of Takkar Dabba as an example, answer these questions for you/your idea:

  • What was the market Takkar Dabba was focusing on? How big was it?
  • How will you define your micro-market?
  • Why this micro-market?

Note: This is the first article in "The Micro Marketer" series by Pravin Shekar, an Outlier Marketer.

About the Author

Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur. The author could be reached at outlier@pravinshekar.com. His books are available at http://tiny.cc/PravinShekarBooks