When building the foundation of your business plan, you will no doubt begin to consider to whom your services or products will appeal. As a birth specialist, you may begin by stating that expectant mothers are your main customers or target market. You may be a doula or childbirth educator or lactation consultant and, yes, you would be correct in your definition of your target market.
As the honing of your business plan continues, your target market may expand to include newborns or even the expectant partner. Sibling classes, support person's classes or products (such as books) designed with these persons in mind may be added to your plan.
Like Perinatal Education Associates, Inc. that began in 1999 with an informational website for expectant parents and then morphed into a multi-target company today, your target market may change over time. Before making such a change, go back to your business plan, specifically the mission and vision statement to see if those items still fit or if they need modification. Gradually expanding a target market is not a bad thing, it is just something that takes time, and careful consideration.
Ideally, we could look into a crystal ball and see if expanding a target market is going to be good for the company. However, trustworthy crystal balls are very hard to come by so a projected estimate of sales is the next best thing. Say for example you are a childbirth educator and wish to teach childbirth classes. Your community has an estimated 5000 births/year. The hospitals in your area account for only 33% of expectant parents coming to their childbirth classes. Is it safe to assume that the other 67% could be in YOUR classes? Probably not. When looking at the projected estimate in this case, you must look at other childbirth educators in your community, desire to attend classes, convenience of classes, etc. A good guess might land you 25% of the 67%. This number would still keep you busy!
You will still have to be innovative and in your marketing plan, show your target why they want to attend your classes vs. other classes. What do you offer that no one else does?
Marketing and advertising. What is the difference? Find out in Part 4.