There is so much more to beginning a startup then I ever imagined there would be. There are so many questions that need to be asked which, in return, means so many questions that need to be answered. The best part is, you are responsible for all of it: asking yourself the questions AND finding yourself the answers. The reason this is crucial is because, come PITCH time, the last thing anyone wants is for the judges to ask them a question that they have yet to have the answer to. Tuesday night we talked about knowing our marketplace. What does that entail? Jay Sherer summed it up into four main points:
The first thing that is important to address, is your TOTAL ADDRESSABLE MARKET (TAM). This is different than your target market, because it takes a more broad approach. Jay used the example of the Dodgers: While the Dodgers target market may be their fans, based out of LA, the addressable market is all baseball fans worldwide. You can ask yourself, who can you reach? Think broadly. That is your addressable market.
Your TARGET MARKET is who you are addressing at the given time. Facebook, originally called The Facebook, aimed their target market towards the student population at Harvard. Like Facebook, your target market has a high chance of growing. What type of people are in your target market? That is a question that needs to be answered. Investors want to know as much as possible: age, demographic, etc. Because you are not guaranteed that they will connect with your product, make-up someone who will. Make a character, name it, describe it, and talk about why it would benefit from your product.
Who are your COMPETITORS? This is crucial to know within the realm of startups because believe it or not, you may not be the first person with your idea. So, why would you name your competitors to a panel of investors you are trying to impress? Because you want them to know why your startup is better, or at least have the information to convince them it is. Make a chart, jot down some facts and do your research!
What are the TRENDS AND FACTS of the business world today? Remember when the world was introduced to Snapchat? Remember how cool it was for people to post live pictures of their day only to be erased from the world in a matter of 24 hours? Since then, many features of Snapchat have been introduced. Even Instagram has caught on, and built more advanced tools and filters for people to use as well. So where does your startup stand? Are you trying to disrupt the marketplace already set in place or carry on with the current trends that are flooding our society?
So many questions to be asked and so many questions that need to be answered. Your marketplace slides need to have all of it. One way to recognize popular questions within your startup is by customer interviews; another crucial step prior to pitching. One thing I realized about beginning a startup is that, even though it may be difficult, it is also very likely to launch a viable organization with the necessary tools, research, and effort that founders are willing to put in. To hear our full workshop from Tuesday night, check out and subscribe to our Youtube channel: Zuventurez at Azusa Pacific University
It is always important to keep learning, because the more you learn, the more you grow, and the more you grow, the more your company develops. To help learn more about the marketplace, purchase “The Four Steps to an Epiphany” by Steve Blank. This is an amazing book for entrepreneurs to learn more about growing their marketplace. You do not want to miss out! The link is below: