With the world breathlessly awaiting the next new super child of business, the hot topics in the dreams of entrepreneurs everywhere are innovation and disruption. Yet, the topic that will make the difference between a super child and an abandoned orphan will be market opportunity.
“An analysis of market opportunities is important because businesses operate in dynamic and constantly evolving environments, so understanding the changing landscape and trends that are impacting the business helps in developing an effective marketing strategy,” says Marketing Strategy, book one of the SMstudy® Guide series. This is true of established businesses developing innovations as well as startups pushing the envelope.
There’s an adage that says “we make our own opportunities.” The first place to look then is inside one’s self. To a significant extant that is true of business opportunities as well. That is why it is important for a company exploring new innovations to look closely at “the concepts related to analyzing the internal capabilities of [the] company as well as the factors of the external environment that impact the business,” according to Marketing Strategy. In other words, starting a new venture is a good time to contemplates one’s corporate navel.
The Guide recommends using the first two parts of a SWOT analysis—determine strengths and weaknesses—for this introspection. This step is especially necessary for entrepreneurs, who are often in the process of creating the company that will develop and deliver the innovation or disruption. These first parts of a SWOT analysis can be tailored to tell the innovator which strengths should be incorporated into the new organization and which ones should be avoided. Instead of asking, “what are our company’s strengths based on past successes?” the entrepreneur can ask, “what strengths do companies that have succeeded with similar products and services possess? And how can our new company get them?”
Marketing Strategy identifies four inputs that can aid in this process: senior management direction and insights, organizational capabilities, assumptions and constraints and existing market research reports. Obtaining senior management insights may seem impossible for a new company with no senior executives; however, innovation does not happen in a vacuum. That’s why both Thomas Edison and Alexander Bell had to defend themselves against more than one hundred patent suits. There are sources for expert opinion and insights.
Organizational capabilities will have to be tweaked again for entrepreneurs starting companies. Instead of taking an inventory of existing capabilities—in all areas such as finance, operations, human resources, location, intellectual property and organizational culture—startups must determine what capabilities they will need in each of these areas.
“An assumption can be defined as anything that is considered to be true without proof,” says Marketing Strategy. While assumptions are necessary when making plans that deal with the uncertainty of the future, “assumptions related to Sales and Marketing should be clearly thought through and explicitly stated, validated and agreed upon before deciding on any specific strategy or marketing plan.” Assumptions are the home of unrealistic expectations for many innovators and visionaries. They should be agreed upon with extreme caution, clarity and common sense.
Most industries have numerous associations that produce researched reports on current developments and market trends. For example, project management has the Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession report. Governments and institutions of higher learning issue reports almost constantly.
Whatever information the next super child needs, it is out there. And if it has to do with sales and marketing, it is available from SMstudy.
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