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Monday, June 20, 2011

Where is Your Market? Adjust Your Pitch to Fit.

The first thought that comes to mind when addressing a market is your product and end users.  That is where you will ultimately make your money.  Defining that market and developing your products for the end user is an essential step in the growth of a startup.  Your business plan, slide presentations and most all discussions will have this as a central part of the evaluation of the business.  But are they your only market? Not really!

As a startup, you actually have more markets to consider, each requiring a different sales strategy.  Most of the time the other markets are not thought of as such, but you are selling and the buyers are not ones you will want to ignore.   A few considerations are listed below:

·       End User:  This is the person, group, business or other entity being targeted to purchase your manufactured products or your services; i.e., your startup plans to produce and sell to them.  This market is critical to your business and should be identified very early in your development process.  This is the market that will contribute to your profit and loss column.

·       Investor:  They are a different sort of market.  These are the individuals or groups you will be approaching for funds to build your company.  You are selling to them just as you would to an end product user, but you are selling them on the concept of your business and your management team.  You need their money and they want to make money from an investment in your company.  They will want to know how you plan to sell your products to the end user.  You will need to sell them on the business concepts to get the money to make products for the end user.

·       Partners: These are the companies that you may decide to work with, license to, sell the company to, or other activities.  They will want to know about the end user and your investors.  More importantly they will want to know how they can benefit from working with you.  They could ultimately be a future M&A candidate, acquirer, or maybe you want to acquire them.

Your sales approach to each of these markets will be different!  You need to determine what they want and how you can convince them to buy what you are selling to them.  In each case, you will be selling some feature of your company; your ability, technology, or products.  The investors will likely be buying stock or loaning money.  The potential partners will consider buying your company or obtaining rights to use or sell your products.  Your end user will actually be using the products.  Different slants may work, or you may need a totally different pitch to make sale. 

Think ahead and be ready.  Consider modifying your slide deck and creating different versions.  One to be used for each of the possible markets you will be approaching.  Sometimes, you only get a single short notice chance to present or make your pitch.  Being ready can make a big difference.

  Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon