Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Compare, SWOT,Zoom In

Hello folks, hope your internship is going well along with your summer! Lots of you have shared your valuable experiences and lessons learned during this summer. I, in return, would like to share something I have learned through my internship as well. For most of you, my fellow beavers, want to become entrepreneurs and start businesses at some point of your lives. Now, no matter what industry that you are in, one thing is the same: you need to find the right person to sell your product (service) to. Therefore, I am going to explain the method that my boss and I used to find our target customer, and hopefully, it will help you in the future.

The method we used is composed of three steps–Compare, SWOT, Zoom In.

Compare stands for study your competitor’s products, and analysis them like you did for SAT and AP exams; find out what the market already has and has not. This step allows entrepreneurs to learn about the market and their competitors objectively. There are usually 3 outcomes from comparing and learning about the market. 1. You find out that your idea solves a fake need; 2. You have improved your idea based on all the researching; 3. Your idea was as good as it could be.

Now, move on to step two–SWOT. It is what Len Green (a legendary professor from Babson) taught me to do and I recommend everyone to do a SWOT analysis after step one. For SWOT analysis, you compare your product against your competitors to find out your strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis allows you to see where your product stands in the market.

Once you know your clear advantage, it is time to zoom in. SWOT analysis will lead you to a seemingly appropriate target customer crowd because now you now know where your advantages lays. However, what most people fail to realize is that this target market is probably too big and too inclusive to begin with. (There are exceptions of course, but it is a bad idea to aim for next Facebook when you just start) This is why you should zoom in and take in consideration of customers’ age, social background, sexuality, geography, and so on. As Len recommends, find a niche market.

Hope this helps!

(Below is a picture of my host company’s new product after using this three steps– a baby-friendly disinfectant spray that targets parents with high education and have average or above income)