Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mashary Keya: Why market sizing can make or break your business

By Mashary Keya, Strategy Advisor, WYLDE International

As an entrepreneur, you know that defining your market is one of the most critical steps in building a successful venture.

Get it right, and you’ll be poised for growth and innovation. Get it wrong, and you could be staring down the barrel of failure.

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Unfortunately, the traditional ways of sizing up a market are often flawed and actually lead to the downfall of even the mightiest companies.

Just look at the cautionary tales of Kodak and Nokia – once-titans of industry that fell victim to a common pitfall: defining their markets based on their products rather than the true needs of their customers.


Kodak, for example, thought their market was “film.” But when digital photography emerged, allowing customers to preserve and share memories in a whole new way, Kodak found itself quickly left behind.

Nokia, on the other hand, was convinced that its market was “mobile phones” – until smartphones came along and transformed the entire landscape.

The problem with these product-centric market definitions is that they are inherently unstable.

Technology marches on, customer preferences shift, and what was once a thriving market disappears practically overnight.

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Ask the once-mighty giants of Britannica and Blackberry – their decline happened at lightning speed when they failed to recognize that their customers were not actually buying their “products,” but rather, “hiring” those products to get a job done.

So what’s the secret to avoiding this fate for your business? It lies in truly understanding your customers’ “jobs to be done” – the functional, emotional, and consumption-based goals they are trying to achieve.

When you define your market in those terms without mentioning any specific solutions or products, you unlock a much more stable and expansive view of your opportunity.

Imagine if Kodak had focused not on film but on helping people preserve and share their cherished memories.

Or if Nokia had aimed to connect people on the go rather than just dominating the mobile phone market. The possibilities for growth and innovation would have been vast.

As you work to size up your market, I encourage you to forget about your products for a moment. Instead, dig deep to uncover the core jobs your customers are trying to get done.

What are their functional needs, their emotional drivers, and the ways they want to consume your solutions?

Get that right, and you’ll be well on your way to building a business that will withstand the test of time – no matter how the technology or competition may shift.

Remember, the market always wins. And the companies that thrive are the ones that consistently meet and exceed their customers’ needs, regardless of what form those needs may take.

So don’t get caught up in the allure of your own products or services. Instead, relentlessly focus on the jobs your customers are trying to accomplish, and you’ll be well on your way to market domination.

Mr. Mashary Keya is a Strategy Advisor at WYLDE International. You may connect with Mashary via his LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mashary-keya/   or via email: [email protected]   

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