There’s a saying that there should be no new initiatives or innovations during the ghost month. But that month is over: the ‘-ber’ months are now upon us.
The ‘-ber’ months are the best time to start planning a start up enterprise or new product/service innovations. The months of September and October are ideal for conceptualizing a new enterprise, product and/or service, while November and December will be best for doing a reality check on the innovation.
It should take the entrepreneur until the end of October to scan the environment, screen the opportunities and prepare for the product launch. Until then, their homework consists of identifying the product’s or service’s customer fit. This means that the item’s qualities must meet the target customers’ fundamental needs (core attributes), the currently desired and served wants (augmented attributes) and the un-served wants (innovative attributes). Remember that all three must be present. If the current core and augmented attributes are not met, any innovation that serves solely the un-served want will not be accepted by the customer.
The process that would enable the entrepreneur to bring forth all three attributes must likewise be put in place. One must not forget that consistent delivery of the product/service traits is just as important as the attributes themselves.
The last two months of the year will give the innovator time to introduce the item to the market place to test its viability—if indeed the product-to-customer fit exists.
Often, these innovations are found in bazaars and retail areas where target customers congregate. The test starts when consumers, upon seeing the product/service presentation, decide to part with their money to avail of it. When this happens, the un-served need that the product/service was targeting is confirmed. But this is only the acceptability test. The next question is how many of this innovation will be bought. This will be the viability test. A product becomes feasible when customers come back or bring their friends to the point of purchase to buy more.
What is it about the end-year season that makes consumers want to exchange their earnings for a new possession or experience? Typically, the months of November and December load people’s pockets with money more than any other month of the year. This means there is greater propensity for the customer to spend.
And if no significant sales are made and the identified product/service-to- customer fit does not happen in the ‘-ber’ months, the product/service is most likely doomed and will not have a chance to sell during the non ‘-ber’ months.
Alejandrino J. Ferreria is the author of the internationally published book, Entrepreneurs' Helpline. He was a former dean of the Asian Center for Entrepreneurship, and a former associate dean for Executive Education at the Asian Institute of Management.
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