For hardware start-ups, deciding whether to target B2B or B2C audiences can be a huge challenge. Trying to target both can be difficult and costly.
As Han Jin notes on Forbes.com, many start-ups that go for both markets can end up stuck between the two, trying potentially unsuccessfully to please both audiences. Start-ups need to get a handle early on where they most want to focus their time and resources.
“When considering between B2C and B2B it is crucial to assess the market potential, because even if you have a great idea and product you might only have a few people in the market and your business will not take off,” Jin writes. “Sad to say that just having a great vision never guarantees success, but true customers do.”
Crowdfunding is one way for consumer-focused start-ups to get a handle on who their audience will be, but, he warns, consumer interests can be fickle. While someone might pre-order your product, they may change their mind later in the buying process, possibly because they realize that while your marketing excited them, the product isn’t really suited for their current needs.
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Early feedback is more difficult for companies targeting B2B companies, because there are often so many decision makers involved. But, start-ups can learn a lot along the way if they take the time to listen to the varied stakeholders involved.
“While the closing of one deal is not a representation of the market size, scaling it into multiple deals quickly and easily is a good indicator for its potential,” Jin notes. “Exposing your solution early on to many potential customers gives you crucial information on your customer’s persona which can help you to estimate the size of your market more accurately than any formula taught in school.”