In my world, when the discussion with my pro-bono clients comes around to the specifications of the pro-bono client’s customers, responses are either way too general or way too specific. But seldom are clients able to precisely describe their target customer. But they must. This entire discussion is another of the key success factors, (KSF), for any business. Any business must be able to clearly define its target market size. To do that the business must know EXACTLY what your customer will look like…everything about your intended customer.
An appropriate analogy to this is your favorite police show on TV. When your favorite police detective initiates a hunt for a criminal in question, he or she doesn’t provide a photo of a crowd. No. When a detective issues a BOLO, (Be On The Lookout), he or she circulates a photo of a the one, very-specific, person. The request then is for the police teams to search thousands of people to match the many to the one in the photograph. You are doing something similar. You must look at large numbers of people out there to find only those that perfectly fit your CVP< (Compelling Value Proposition). “Tell me exactly how many people fit this EXACT description.”
Don’t begin your research and certainly don’t pay a research firm UNTIL you can clearly articulate your CVP and therefore, clearly define the characteristics of your target market.
When you get your results, chop it in half. 50% of your precisely defined target market is what you should work with as your target market for business planning purposes. Some businesses prefer a more liberal safety margin by working with 70% of the research results. I prefer the more conservative 50%.
If your business can survive on 50% of your target market as characterized by people who precisely fit your CVP, then you may have a fighting chance, you may be able to prosper. What do you do if your numbers are too anemic and you can not project a suitable business profit? Don’t invest your money. Find a job and work for someone else.