Where to find new markets and customers

The pandemic has disrupted the business models of most startups and existing businesses. As the economy reopens, companies find that customers may have disappeared or that their spending behavior has changed. Suppliers cease operations or require initial payment terms. Debtors are growing more and more. Revenue models and forecasts are no longer valid.

In sum, whatever business model you had at the start of the year, it can be out of date.

While there is agreement that businesses must adapt to changing markets, quickly find new markets, new customers and new revenue models, the question is How? 'Or' What? What tools and methods can a C-suite team use to do this?

While Lean Startup was designed with Business Model Canvas, Customer Development and Agile Engineering, there is an additional tool – the Market Opportunity Navigator – that can help entrepreneurs discover new opportunities.

Here's how.

Businesses Responded to Pandemic Needs Quickly
When COVID-19 first appeared, established companies quickly pivoted. Some have focused on distance work, others have proposed new ways of learning online. The Swiss smart flooring start-up Technis is now helping supermarkets to regulate the flow of buyers. Large companies like GM, Ford and Rolls-Royce have started to produce fans. Cosmetics and perfume companies have also rotated their production lines. With ethanol and glycerin close at hand and the necessary equipment to fill the bottles, the French luxury giant LVMH started producing disinfectants – just like gin and whiskey distilleries in the United States. States and the United Kingdom.

Although the big companies made the headlines, the startups also pivoted. For example, the Italian additive manufacturing start-up Isinnova used its 3D printing equipment to produce a crucial valve for oxygen masks. The New York start-up Katena Oncology discovered that a cancer detection tool under development could be adapted to test the coronavirus.

Seize opportunities by developing or reallocating the capabilities of your start-up
In these examples, CEOs have instinctively understood, 1) their basic needs and 2) the needs of the market where their skills / abilities could be used.

Rather than operating instinctively, the Market Opportunity Navigator can help CEOs determine their next actions in this confusing recovery. It can provide a global perspective to find different potential markets for the skills / abilities of your business. This is the first step before zooming in and designing the business model, engaging in targeted customer development, or testing your minimal viable products.

Take the example of Abionic, a nanotechnology startup.

Abionic: rotate a sepsis test to fight COVID-19
Abionic tests can detect allergies, cardiovascular disease, sepsis and other diseases in 5 minutes. As the pandemic struck, company executives wondered how their tests could be used in the fight against COVID-19. Using the Market Opportunity Navigator, Abionic realized that its test could diagnose sepsis up to 72 hours before septic shock occurs in COVID-19 patients.

One of the worksheets below in the Market Opportunities Navigator provides a systematic view of the Abionic market discovery process: the top of the spreadsheet presents the technological assets of Abionic and the bottom section shows how these capabilities can be used for different market opportunities.

You can download the Market Opportunity Navigator and its free spreadsheets here.

By examining their technological capabilities, particularly in the early detection of sepsis, and clinical data showing that septic shock is one of the main complications of coronavirus infection, Abionic has identified a new opportunity for market to help patients with COVID-19. Their CEO Nicolas Durand explains: "If doctors are able to diagnose sepsis up to 72 hours before a septic shock occurs in COVID-19 patients, they can prescribe antibiotic therapy much sooner, which could potentially save the lives of millions of people. In order to test this application of our technology, we deployed our machines to the hospital of the University of Geneva and see promising results! "

Beyond medical needs: discover new opportunities with the Market Opportunity Navigator
Abionic and other companies were able to act quickly, as they already had technological capabilities which, with limited adjustments, could be pivoted or reallocated to the new COVID-19 opportunities identified.

However, because the crisis and the recovery will create a "new normal", additional opportunities will emerge that are waiting to be discovered by startups and existing companies. Consider looking beyond the immediate opportunities of existing customers and markets and take a medium and long term view of how you can proactively identify new and emerging market opportunities. The three worksheets of the Market opportunity browser help you to:

  1. Identify new market opportunities arising from your technology or capabilities
  2. Reveal the most attractive area (s) by assessing the potential and challenges of each option
  3. Cleverly prioritize market opportunities to define the limits of your Lean experiments

Lessons learned

  • The COVID-19 Crisis and Resumption Lead to Fundamental Changes in Our Economies and Societies, and a “New Normal” Is Emerging
  • The winners of this new standard will quickly understand
    • what are the basic skills / capabilities of their business, and
    • new market needs where their skills / abilities could be used
  • The Market Opportunity Navigator is a framework for this identification process
    • Worksheets and supporting documents can be downloaded from whereetoplay.co

Filed Under: Customer Development |