This post by guest blogger Jerome Downey appears as part of our series Small Business 500.

tips for small businessA market feasibility study is a tool that entrepreneurs, consultants and investors use to determine the potential success of a business idea or opportunity. Small business owners can employ this same tool to make decisions regarding their current market and ambitions and ensure that their target market is viable. The foundation of this process is captured here in what I like to call the 5 P’s approach: People, Product, Place, Positioning, and Plan. 

1. People

Do you have the right team and network assembled to compete in the market? The value of having the right people around you can never be underestimated. Human capital in today’s business market is more valuable than ever. If you do not have the ability to attract and maintain the right talent for your business, the stability and longevity of your market will be called into question and might not be viable. 

2. Product

Businesses provide the market with products that offer a solution to a problem or pain. Before people will buy your idea, product, or service, they want to understand the solution you are offering. Wave Accounting has been a successful company within its market because it offers a variety of solutions and benefits for its users. If the pain is already being solved or if it is very limited in scale you probably don’t want to venture too far into that market. 

3. Place

Know your physical and online geography. Have a firm understanding of the segments within your market's eco-system. A market is like a living breathing organism; it is alive and continually moving. Kids grow up and become teenagers, adults, and then seniors. If you don’t know your core target market, that is a good sign you don’t have a viable market to reach.   

4. Positioning

There is a natural give and take within a business transaction or relationship. Business is about value. If you do not have a strong value proposition, consumers won’t believe in your product or have confidence in it. Make sure to focus on your business' positioning statement. Starting with your mission and vision is always a good idea.

5. Plan

Mike Tyson once famously said “everyone has a plan until they get hit”. If you don’t have a plan then you won’t be able to protect yourself when pitfalls arise. You should be able answer this question with supreme confidence and knowledge: What is your go-to-market strategy?  If you are unable to answer this question in an adequate manner you’re probably not fully prepared to compete within the market; or, your market just might be inviable. 

small-business-financeJerome Downey is a graduate of Mount Allison University, with a BA in Political Science. Jerome serves as Chief Executive Officer & President of Downey Mortgage & Financial Inc (DMF). Beyond his entrepreneurial ventures he serves as a business consultant with Just Energy Group (JE) a leading North American green energy retailer and their subsidiary National Home Services. Jerome also has worked in a consultant capacity with the Bank of Nova Scotia, The Halifax Port Authority, and HSBC Finance Corporation. In his spare time Jerome is constantly supporting community organizations that are committed to advancing education, health, innovation and financial literacy. 

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