Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
I don't have cable television but when I get a chance, I love to watch the show, Dragons' Den.
For those of you that are unfamiliar, Dragons' Den is a group of five investors ('the Dragons'), who are seated in a room and throughout the show, entrepreneurs present business opportunities to them in hopes that they will invest in their venture and/or bring their expertise to bear in exchange for equity in the entrepreneurs company.
Some of the ideas that are pitched to the Dragon's are downright ridiculous and as a result, watching the show can be hilarious and awkward (often at the same time). But the thing that catches me is how often I've heard entrepreneurs defend their awful pitch with some variation of the phrase: "but it worked for Google!"
Really? You want to compare your business to Google? Google's market is the world. Anyone who has a computer can use Google...and for quite a while there, given their quality of search results, most did. To put a number on it, I just read in a Canadian Marketing Association advertisement that there are now 1.5 billion Internet users in the world. That is a HUGE market.
Let's say Google only penetrated 0.5% of that market...that's 7,500,000. 7 million, 500 thousand people. Even at a dollar a person, that market represents a HUGE opportunity to make money.
Now take your little venture that you've come up with that's marketed specifically to Canadian mothers of children between the age of 4 and 6. Your market is not even close to as big and as a result, you are no longer comparing apples-to-apples. It's not to say that your idea can't work, but to compare it to Google is ridiculous.
Take it a step further and think of your 200-500 person church in your community. What's your market? What is your ability to serve them? It's going to be different than what Google can accomplish. Yet, people do think that way. They think that because Google did it or Facebook did it or the big church down the road did it, that they can do it...and they think that without considering their market.
Consider your community. Consider their needs.
Know your market...then come up with your creative solution and marketing plan.