The Commerce Department said on Thursday, July 15, 2021, that business applications reached a seasonally adjusted 448,553 in June, 2021. In total, Americans have started 6,714,318 new businesses since the pandemic began last March, which is an all-time record.
According to Julia Pollak, an economist with ZipRecruiter, COVID created a very unique set of circumstances that made ideal conditions for people to start a business.
Many people were laid off on furlough and suddenly had time, but they didn’t have time that they needed to use to spend desperately searching for work because they also got a little bit of fiscal support. So there are many people who took that stimulus check and decided to take their $1,000 and use it to start a business.
Also, starting a business now is really fast and really cheap. You can register your business for just a few hundred dollars. And a lot of these companies are really little. It’s like a little store on Amazon or on Etsy. The startup costs for these businesses are super-low, so a stimulus check for $1,000 can make it happen in a way that it couldn’t have even 10 years ago.
If you are ready to start your business, contact us and let’s discuss the right path for you.
Pabst Blue Ribbon’s (or PBR) rise and fall is a story of a market finding a product — unfortunately, it 170 years for it to happen. PBR has been around for 170 years but only in 2008 enjoyed a 6 year boom in popularity (outside of a brief moment in the 1970s). If hipsters were around 170 years ago, it wouldn’t have taken one hundred seventy years for PBR to find popularity.
It is better to find an under-served market and create a product/service for them than wait for a market to find your product/service.
Hipsters are known for following the latest trends and fashions, while eschewing things regarded as being within the cultural mainstream. Hence the term, “I was into __________ before it was cool.”
So why did hipsters like PBR? To put it simply, it was “retro chic”, anti-mainstream, and with many people still trying to recover from an economic recession, Pabst Blue Ribbon’s low price point was an attractive option. This brings us to a tool in marketing used to find customer groups — psychographic segmentation.
What is Psychographic Segmentation for Business?
Psychographic segmentation is used in market research as a way to divide consumers into sub-groups based on shared psychological characteristics, including subconscious or conscious beliefs, motivations, and priorities to explain and predict consumer behavior. Any dimension can be used to segment a group of consumers such as style, variety, availability, price, etc.
Hipsters avoided things that were popular and some of them were not price sensitive so they were willing to consider a range of beers that occupied a certain psychographic zone.
As PBR’s popularity grew, it was departing from the zone of consideration – the region of price and popularity where hipsters were willing purchase from. Also, as hipsterism became more mainstream, the association of PBR with hipsters caused a self-fueling downward cycle.
How to Use Psychographic Segmentation for Business?
Your Startup Guru used psychographic analysis to differentiate our client’s brand from that of their competitors yet stay true to their envisioned identity:
How to Do Market Research for Business?
There are many sources at your disposal to gain a deeper insight into who your customers are and segments within that market.
Ask potential customers: Surveying is a form of primary market research. Ask them how they use their product, what they like/dislike about it. How long they have used it, is it expensive, how does it make them feel, etc. These questions will give you valuable insight on the psychology of the user.
Pose as a customer and visit your competitor’s store/website. Learn how they do what they do. See what they do well, what they can improve on. Sometimes employees are very happy to share details you cannot find anywhere else.
Industry and trade publications for your particular sector are also a great source of information. Some are free while some require memberships.
So What Should Pabst Blue Ribbon Do?
Given that hipsterism is on the way out, a brand extension with Pabst [pick your color] Ribbon which is guerilla marketed to a new niche market segment such as Yuccies: Young Urban Creatives (that are a slice of Gen Y) with product placement on their YouTube channels is a viability…or wait another +100 years for market tastes to circle back.
Contact us today to get started on market research that will help pinpoint your target market.
Money is extraordinarily tight for most people right now so starting a business is a pipe dream that has been put on hold indefinitely. However, you can make the choice and do the many things you can do with little or no money to continue to make incremental progress.
One of the most important yet least expensive things you can do is gain knowledge. Research into who your customers are, who your competitors are, what it costs to launch, who can supply raw materials for your product, etc. is relatively inexpensive with a simple online search but a critical. Research is an important task because it also tells you if your idea is feasible. A feasibility study is done to consider the various aspects of a business to see if it is a viable undertaking. Very briefly, feasibility studies are curtailed business plan-like documents where you outline your product/service, the business model, your competitors and your customers, expected revenues/expenses/startup costs. A well done feasibility study can save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in sunk costs.
Your Startup Guru offers price matching, discounted fees, and revenue sharing options to work with tight budgets. Contact us to get started on your feasibility study.
Make the right choice — do not go back to sleep and just dream.
NPR’s How I Built This is a fantastic podcast that brings the stories behind some of the world’s best-known companies. How I Built This interviews innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists about the movements they built.
Peloton co-founder: John Foley
In this episode, they interview John Foley, one of the co-founders of Peloton; the fitness and media company that you’ve probably seen commercials for.
In the interview, they greatly undervalued John Foley’s network and experience but nonetheless, this episode touched on several relevant topics my clients often face. I picked this episode because it was a little more in-depth and enlightening than other episodes in that Foley he talks about:
having the discussion with this wife about moving in with her parents if the company fails,
how everyone is similarly able including Harvard MBAs,
how Peloton is only recently profitable after 7 years
There are also great questions asked by interviewer that touches on market trends such as arcades no longer thriving due to user experience-to-price dynamics (i.e. video game consoles vs arcades due to quality of experience), penetration/awareness strategy which led to their distribution model given that malls are making an industry correction, and lastly the trademark question: “How much of this was because of your intelligence and hard work, and how much of this was just luck?”
FYI, I always discuss market and industry trends, launch and penetration strategy, as well as bootstrapping in all my business plans.
Often entrepreneurs come up with their business idea because of their own personal experiences or that of someone in their circle of friends & family. This is a great strategy but sometimes doesn’t tap into a market large enough.
In episode #850 of Planet Money, The Fake Review Hunter the hosts interview Tommy Noonan, creator of SupplementReviews.com. SupplementReviews.com is a highly popular website that provides unbiased user reviews of health supplements. However, Tommy soon found that there were reviews that were suspiciously positive. Because Tommy’s entire website was based on authentic user reviews, fake reviews became an existential threat. After a lot of research, he found that some of these reviews were being written by the supplement companies themselves. He uncovered so many fake reviews that he started noticing a pattern; almost like a modus operandi. They were often single product/brand reviews, used fake pictures, lots of reviews in a short period of time, and/or only had one review. Sometimes the “reviewer” would give positive reviews for one brand and negative ones to competing brands.
This is when Tommy had his a-ha moment. If his website had fake reviews, others would also probably have them too. So he created another business that aligned with one of the juggernauts of the internet, Amazon. Tommy’s site which uncovers fake reviews is called ReviewMeta.com.
How to find a need
As mentioned at the top of the post, most rely only on their personal experiences or that within their network. Sometimes the need is obvious. For example, at a 7-Eleven in Shirley, New York one 7-Eleven sells more coffees than any other franchise in the US; all because of one store manager than knows virtually every customer’s name and greats them. No special location mojo or customer flow algorithm, just old fashioned customer service. You can read more about it in my post Competitive Advantage and Coffee.
Other times it is not that obvious. In that case, you have to hustle in a different manner. How do you do more “work” when you’re already working to the bone? Find efficiencies: know your customers, know your competitors, lower your expenses, by working to learn more doing more research in episode #700 of Planet Money, Peanuts and Cracker Jack. In Boston’s Fenway Park, Jose Magrass is the top seller. One year, on opening day he sold 500 hot dogs, $2750 worth of hot dogs in a single game. In fact, Jose has been the top seller for over 5 years. Part of his secret? He has a spreadsheet where he analyzes many factors beyond just the weather such as what his competing vendors are selling and what fans are likely to purchase depending on the price of their seats. For example, behind home plate diet coke sold better because possibly that is where the “vain people” sit. That kind of analysis is impressive.