Startups · Economics

For my economic model, how do I find the number of potential customers for my target?

Richard Navarrete Global Director of IT at frog

November 21st, 2016

My product is focused around companies that allocate resources and track time. My closest competition is 10K ft, Harvest, and Mavenlink, but mine will do things these others aren't doing and will be catered to creative design / technology firms (10 - 10,000).

The only number I found is Harvest says they have 40K+ customers. But how can I go about assessing the entire customer base? I could look at US Labor and Stats, but I intend to eventually be in 100 countries.

Thanks in advance,
R
A great idea is 1% of the work. Execution is the other 99%. In this course, we’ll teach you how to conduct market analysis, create an MVP and pivot (if needed), launch your business, survey customers, iterate your product/service based on feedback, and gain traction quickly.

Daniel Green PhD Candidate in Finance at MIT

November 21st, 2016

It will be difficult and time intensive to collect and normalize the data from many countries. A better route is to get the US number as a lower bound, and then scale that number by a multiplier that reasonably represents the ratio of global to US potential customer base. Ballpark this multiplier by finding some *broad* comparables to you that disclose both US and global customer numbers. In the US, the best source of data on the number of firms by size and industry is from the US Census: http://www.census.gov/data/tables/2014/econ/susb/2014-susb-annual.html I'd start there and use those spreadsheets to really drill down into your target space, then make adjustments accordingly. Good luck!

Yair Taylor Economist at U.S. Department of Justice

November 21st, 2016

While not a speedy solution, one of the under-utilized, yet very valuable resources in this world is the network of academics in almost any area of interest. These are people who have done a great deal of the leg work already and they are generally very happy to share their insights. I recommend that you go to Google Scholar and search on "technology firms in Europe" as a first try. Look at the authors' names and if they are underlined, you can click on them to see a list of their papers. If you believe that they might be a good choice, run a Google search on them to find their personal or academic webpage, which should have their contact information. You can then email them, letting them know what you need and see if they can help by either providing the information or directing you to someone who would know. Often times, it won't take long to get to the person who can help you. You can then either ask that person if they know who to contact for any of the other countries or repeat the steps above for the next one in your list. I hope this helps. Best of luck.

Jeff Gindin Creator of a cycling accessories

November 22nd, 2016

Hi - above info is valuable but let me ask just one question: what market research have you done to determine how valuable your additional features are to your target audience? Valuable enough for users to convert or are you just addressing those entities who do not yet use a competitive product? ("sorry - two questions!)

Richard Navarrete Global Director of IT at frog

November 22nd, 2016

@jeff Good questions.  I'm in the middle of doing that research now.  That means reaching any and all of my contact with my list to see if they find them valuable and further, what they'd like to see offered.  I'm looking for both, new customers that have been using spreadsheets, converts from other competitors, and those clients currently only using Netsuite / SAP, etc.

Jeff Gindin Creator of a cycling accessories

November 22nd, 2016

Hi Richard: If you are doing surveys, you might want to get some professional advice on how to structure questions, etc. It has become a very scientific discipline. (And, no, I do not have that expertise.)

Richard Navarrete Global Director of IT at frog

November 23rd, 2016

I'll keep that in mind.  Thanks, Jeff.