What customers are looking for in products and services is satisfaction and meeting of needs. This is called value – a combination of quality and right price. Put in another way, though some customers may desperately be looking for products to give them satisfaction or help take care of their needs, inappropriate pricing may reduce the yearnings or totally kill their appetites even if the quality of the product is top-notch.
Sola enjoys taking soda. As far as he is concerned, a bottle per day is not too much; and he has no hassles spending N100 daily to have the satisfaction he so much craves.
In his area, he can easily pick a cold bottle from ant of the numerous kiosks that litters every street of the suburb. Suddenly and without prior notice, there was a price change with an increase of N20. When Sola discovered this, he thought it to be a joke and he tried another kiosk to have his favourite chilled bottle of soda. It was as if the sellers had all had a meeting to move up the price of the product. Sola, and others like him, did not find the 20 per cent price increase pleasant at all. Their immediate reaction to the price change was total abstinence from a product they all loved so much. Not that they no longer wanted the product, the fact remained that their purchasing powers could not accommodate the price change. The corresponding change in consumer behaviour caused a sudden slump in the demands for the particular product with substitutes reaping from it.
However, an idea may not be good for business in a particular location but it is a perfect, excellent value-giving, income-earning business in another location. A bottle of soda that went for N120 that Sola and his likes couldn’t afford was being sold for N500 in another location. Therefore for the purpose of clarity, I will state the criteria for a good business idea, which are two, in another way: what products or services are people in a particular environment looking for – to buy – that they cannot easily get or what products or services are people paying for that are of poor quality and the customers are complaining because the value they are getting is not commensurate with the price they are paying?
However, I need to further break this down for better understanding. At first, every idea may appear good but on a second thought look, one may realise that the idea is not as brilliant as it first appeared. But an idea that may not be good for business in a particular environment can be a perfect, excellent value-giving, income-earning business in another location. In this wise, a good business idea is a product of deep thinking, with all factors carefully considered. It can be about adding values to an already existing product, a kind of creative thinking or a total overhaul of client services – a soft skills approach to improving service delivery for revenue growth. For example, a creative thinking can be in the form of processing yams to yam flour or taking the processed yam flour from the farmers and bagging for sale in city supermarkets.
So how can you find good business ideas? Good business ideas must take into consideration what customers’ needs are. People may want to eat cassava flour every day, and there are many sellers of the product. But the problem is not whether cassava flour is available or not. The need of some customers is that particular desire they want to satisfy when they eat cassava flour. To some, the need may be well prepared cassava flour without sand. To another group of customers it may be cassava flour with little starch content. We also have categories of customers who are conscious of how and where to buy their own cassava flour. They don’t like touching anything in the open, street market. If they can’t find the products in an upscale supermarket, they will rather forget it.
As a business man or woman, there is no need to bring a good product that nobody wants to buy into the market. So how do you discover what people want to buy? You need to have a good knowledge of the market. How do people who buy a particular product behave or respond from time to time, and from locality to locality? You may need to find out everything you can about the line of business of your interest. Take time to study the locality. There may be some services that many people are looking for but no one or very few people are providing the services. Also try to talk to people. Talk to customers to ascertain what they feel about a particular product. Ask suppliers about what is happening in the market. You may notice a gap that you can capitalise on. You will need to also carry out a research on existing businesses that you think are successful. Find out everything you can about the businesses and process the data in order to gain intelligence that can help you.
. Emmanuel is a business planning and cooperative consultant. He works with a team of international consultants to conceptualise and plan agribusiness and housing projects. As a certified trainer authorised to use the International Labour Organisation’s enterprise development modules, he trains entrepreneurs and organises workshops and seminars for potential and practising entrepreneurs as well as business managers and cooperatives. He also speaks and facilitates at leadership and management workshops on invitation. His book, Business Planning Made Easy: Step by Step Guide On How To Turn Your Idea To Profitable Business’ is the latest of the books authored by him. Tel: +234(0)9068602954 (call and sms), +234(0)8023257707 (whatsApp only).