FREE ONLINE COURSE - Join us now >
Finding new market opportunities in the food business: A case study of GOPA Pakistan

Finding new market opportunities in the food business: A case study of GOPA Pakistan

We usually tend to think of innovation in terms of advanced technologies. But in fact, any business needs to innovate and explore new growth opportunities, especially in turbulent times. Here is the case of a local catering business from Pakistan, applying the Market Opportunity Navigator to find new market opportunities in light of a changing environment. Analysis was done by Dr. Faisal Shahzad.

Overview

GOPA Pakistan is a premium Catering and Tentage business established in Gujrat, Pakistan. Their root lies in a small ice-cream manufacturing and sale unit which was established back in 1988. They slowly grew their business from an ice-cream vendor in marriage events to a cooked-food supplier. In 2000, they included tentage into their portfolio and since then they have established themself as a premium brand in marriage event management. Most of their business growth was vertical by focusing on food, tentage, and decoration for marrying couples and their families. Recently, the epicenter of marriage organization in Pakistani culture is shifting towards marriage halls and marquee and the demand for traditional catering and tentage business has been falling. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has hit it further and GOPA Pakistan found itself completely out of business and struggling for its existence. It was time to explore new business opportunities and lay out a clear strategy for the firm.  Applying the Market Opportunity Navigator, they thoroughly identified, evaluated, and prioritized 3 new market opportunities and set a clear strategic focus to grow the business:

 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how they did it.

 

Step 1: Market Opportunity Set

As a first step, the core competencies of GOPA Pakistan were analyzed.  This analysis highlighted that Gopa has strong competencies in Event management, Cooked food supply, Decoration, and Human resource management for events. As part of event management competency, they were providing services for marriage planning, tentage/venue planning, and food menu. They were having a strong presence in the regional market and their brand is known for quality food suppliers for Cold Kitchen, Pakistani- Indian food, Chinese, and Tea/Coffee. They also offer services for flower, lightning, and South Asian style marriage decorations. The management of these competences also requires an in-depth understanding of human resource management and GOPA has also specialized in this domain by using state of the art IT infrastructure and mobile apps. This infrastructure helps them to manage waiters, chefs & cooks, drivers /delivery boys, and stay in contact with the event hosts. Based upon these competencies, the following 3 opportunities were defined

  • Opportunity Nr. 1: Tea and Coffee Shop which offers a takeaway and sit-in food point. Here potential customers are individuals, corporations, and families who can sit-in or organize their events for tea/coffee gathering. A takeaway set up is considered as several customers prefer to drink coffee/tea at home.
  • Opportunity Nr. 2: Takeaway Restaurant which is a takeaway and food delivery opportunity. Food will be delivered to customers e.g. individuals, corporate and family or they can come for a pickup.
  • Opportunity Nr. 3: Event Service Provider is an opportunity where Gopa can offer its wide range of services as an outsource for other event organizers

Worksheet 1 summarizes this step:

 

 

Step 2: Attractiveness Map

Each opportunity from the market opportunity set was individually analyzed to estimate its attractiveness.

Opportunity Nr. 1: Tea and Coffee Shop The reason this opportunity seems interesting is that Tea in Pakistani/Indian culture is like beer culture in Germany. A good indicator for this fact is the growing number of Chai-Startups in India . For this reason, the compelling reason to buy tea/Coffee is placed in Mid-High. The market volume is estimated to be mid as most people prefer to drink homemade tea at home. This opportunity has profit margins of 50% and the regional market volume is estimated to be about USD 10 million. On the challenge side, there is a low implementation obstacle as the know-how of this opportunity is already available for Gopa, although they still need to organize a teahouse. Time to revenue is low due to short transactional volume and the short sale cycle. There is a higher-super high external risk associated with this opportunity as there are many competitors. They also risk the short supply of organic milk due to the rising demand. Overall, this opportunity was evaluated as mid potential and low-mid challenge. The detailed analysis of this opportunity can be found in the following worksheet:

 

Opportunity Nr. 2: Takeaway Restaurant Due to the pandemic situation, more and more people around the world prefer takeaways and hence this opportunity offers a high compelling reason to buy and high market volume which is estimated to be around USD 35 million in this regional market. This opportunity has a profit margin of about 50%. This opportunity offers mid-level implementation obstacles as a takeaway system (physical and IT) needs to be build-up, although food delivery can be started with a minimum obstacle. This opportunity has a short sale cycle with quick payments. There are higher external risks e.g. threats from other suppliers, the location of the Gopa takeaway point is outside of the main city but in a well-off Posh area. In the overall ranking, this opportunity was evaluated as a high potential and mid-high challenge, as seen in the detailed worksheet :

 

Opportunity Nr. 3: Event Service Provider is a market opportunity where Gopa can offer all its services to other business e.g. marquee, corporates, or local authorities for public events. The compelling reason for this opportunity is very low as there are other players in the market which can provide similar services. Due to the seasonal nature of this work, the market volume is also relatively low. The profit margins and hence the economic viability for this opportunity is lower, as competing actors drive prices down. There are lower implementation obstacles, as Gopa already poccess the required knowledge and infrastructure for this opportunity. The time to revenue is much longer due to the seasonal and B2B nature of this opportunity. The sale cycle with Govt. authorities can take several months to a year although with a corporate client it’s quicker. There are also several external factors, especially form competitors and 3rd party dependencies. For these reasons, this opportunity has been evaluated with an overall low potential and high challenge. The detailed worksheet is shown below:

 

All the opportunities have been drawn on the Attractiveness Map. Here, the tea/coffee shop was classified as a Quick Win while event services were classified as Questionable, and the takeaway business can be viewed as a Moon Shot.

 

Step 3: Agile Focus Dartboard

After analyzing all the opportunities for their respective potential and challenges, Worksheet 3 was used to design the Agile Focus strategy. Looking at the Attractiveness Map, it seemed that opening a takeaway restaurant was the most attractive opportunity as it offers the highest potential.

The other two opportunities were also examined for their suitability for backup and growth options. Tea and Coffee shop is related to the main opportunity and shares the same market segment. Here the difference is only with the sit-in option which is not viable now. Due to this reason, this option was chosen as a backup and growth option and it was decided to keep it open. Event Service provider shares some product relatedness as the food supply is a common feature between both, but they are not tightly related. This opportunity focuses primarily on B2B customers, and they share no traits with the customers from the main opportunity. For this reason, this opportunity was not marked as a growth or a backup option and was placed in storage. The detailed agile focused analysis is shown in worksheet 3 Below:

 

Conclusion/Learnings

Based on the analysis carried out using the Market Opportunity Navigator, GOPA Pakistan decided to go with the Takeaway Restaurant. As a next step, a zoomed analysis into different target groups e.g. corporate, families, and individual customers is required.

Based upon this strategy along with the organizational setups (infrastructure/IT) a marketing plan was carried out: personalized printed letters were sent to loyal customers from the catering business, and online marketing campaigns were published on Facebook and Foodpanda to spread the message.

The takeaway restaurant has already started delivering food in the last couple of weeks, with current daily deliveries of around 100 meals, and highly positive feedback.

 

Logitech: Helping a 9B $ company explore new market opportunities

Logitech: Helping a 9B $ company explore new market opportunities

Logitech – a leading Swiss manufacturer of computer peripherals and software – is best known for bringing the computer mouse to the market several decades ago. Today, the company is operating worldwide and manufactures all kind of popular devices such as webcams, keyboards, computer speakers, presentation clickers and other accessories. Logitech employs more than 7000 people and is listed at the NASDAQ stock market, with a valuation of greater than 9 Billion USD. The company has experienced impressive growth in the past years.

Like any other established firm, the manifold new developments in technology – including some disruptive technologies – challenge existing businesses for Logitech and at the same time present significant new growth opportunities. At a speech in Lausanne in 2018, Logitech’s CEO Bracken Darrell made the important statement “Everything can be reinvented”. This perspective is very visible within the culture of the firm, as the company is focusing strongly on innovation.

Early in 2020, Logitech partnered with us to explore new market opportunities for their keyboard & mouse business, which is one of their most important business lines. The collaboration included 3 steps:

1.Setting the ground

To launch the process, a joint preparatory meeting was set. The goal was three-fold:

a) Clarify ambitions and goals of the workshop

b) Discuss desired participant profiles at the workshop

c) Perform preparatory analysis

The company desired to identify new market opportunities that could drive their growth in the future. Our discussion about the participant profile emphasized heterogeneity, involving individuals beyond the business unit, and outside the company.

As a preparatory analysis, Logitech mapped their current and potential future competences in the area, and participants were invited to familiarize themselves with the Market Opportunity Navigator (with a dedicated video and the Where-to-Play book).

2. Workshop day: It’s time for a structured brainstorming

The workshop involved about 40 individuals from Logitech as well as from companies operating in other sectors – such as the transportation and luxury goods industries. It began with a presentation about the Market Opportunity Navigator, and then switched to group work covering the first step of the Navigator with Worksheet 1 – the identification of manifold new market opportunities based on Logitech’s current and potential future technological competences. The results were amazing: within 1 hour, more than 200 ideas were generated by the groups with the help of Worksheet 1.

Next, the second step of the Navigator was pursued and with the help of Worksheet 2, we performed a first, quick evaluation of the opportunities in order to begin to understand their inherent potential and challenge.

After lunch, the company then used Worksheet 3 to learn where to focus and to identify ways to further learn about the opportunities and how to test them with prototypes etc.

3. After the Workshop: Time to roll up your sleeves

Logitech now engages in dedicated examination and testing of the most promising opportunities – in their quest to develop new drivers of firm growth.

Overall, the workshop showed that within a short time frame the company was able to develop manifold new market opportunities that they have never thought of before. Of particular value was the inclusion of individuals from other sectors, as they brought highly novel perspectives to the company and its products. Moreover, participants loved the engaging process and the high utility of the Market Opportunity Navigator worksheets and process.

Steve Harvey, Director of Innovation, summarized this nicely: “The worksheets are very clearly laid and simple to follow. Very quickly, within one morning, we have already structured new opportunities for us and assessed how easy or challenging they would be in a very robust way… it certainly gives us a lot of food for thought and a lot of opportunity areas to explore further”.

We have gathered additional feedback from several of Logitech’s innovation leaders, which you can see in this video:

If you would like to invite us for running such a workshop, contact us at: info@wheretoplay.co

 

CompPair- Finding the way from the Lab to the Market

CompPair- Finding the way from the Lab to the Market

CompPair develops healable composite materials for extending the life-time of composite structures. Founded by Dr. Amaël Cohades and based on over 12 years of research at EPFL (Switzerland), this startup needs to find the best market opportunity for its innovation.

The magic of self-healing materials

While current repair solutions in composites involve monitoring failure, removal of the damaged zones and repair, CompPair’s unique materials enable in-situ preparation of micro-cracks using a simple and cost-efficient thermal mending process (i.e. a blow dryer for 1 minute).

The advantages are clear: CompPair provides smart and sustainable composite materials that easily fit into current production lines and can significantly reduce maintenance cost or increase application life-time.

The applications, therefore, are endless, ranging from sports gear, to buildings or marines- to name just a few.

One of the biggest challenges for Amaël was to figure out where to start building his business: which market domain could benefit most from his unique technology.

To help him in this critical decision, a group of PhD students in the course “Entrepreneurial Opportunity Identification and Exploitation” worked on assessing different market opportunities for CompPair. The goal of their project was to identify the most appropriate strategy to bring this novel product to a commercial success by using the Market Opportunity Navigator.

Who needs healable solutions? The discovery process

Following the structured process, the group identified five different market opportunities that seemed worthy for further investigation. These were:

  • Prosthetics
  • Mast for super yachts
  • Drones
  • Composite bridges
  • Hockey sticks

Each opportunity bears different potential and challenges which they assessed through desk research and interviews with relevant professionals. Initial indications showed that hockey sticks production and Prosthetics might be considered as “Gold mine” opportunities, while Drones and Bridges were defined as “Moon shots”. Mast for super-yacht seemed non-attractive due to low interest from professionals working in this field.

Based on this evaluation, the group recommended the startup to focus on hockey stick manufacturers and try to learn more about this market opportunity. They also recommended to keep looking at drones and bridges, as they could be interesting markets for future growth or backup.

The summary of their analysis is depicted on the Market Opportunity Navigator below. To read the full study, including the filled worksheets, click here.

What’s next?

For Amaël and his team, this project ignited a long learning and validation process. Through a deeper market study with over 60 potential customers and experts, they discarded some of the possible directions and added new ones.  Using the Market Opportunity Navigator to reflect on their learning, the team eventually decided to focus on the marine and sport industries.

Since then, CompPair obtained various grants to develop their business case, and plan their market entry during 2020. For more news about their progress visit: www.comppair.ch.

 

Flyability: safe drones for inaccessible places

Flyability: safe drones for inaccessible places

About the Company
Flyability is a Swiss company building safe drones for inaccessible places.Their collision-tolerant drone is unique, as it can fly in complex and confined spaces and in contact with humans, because it has a surrounding cage that protects it. They call it Elios.

The Challenge
The idea to develop a caged drone was born after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Adrien Briod, the co-founder, envisioned how a collision-tolerant drone would assist in managing such dangerous situations. Yet, very soon he and his team discovered that their drone can perform many different jobs, for different types of customers.

So, where should they begin building their business?

The answer is definitely dazzling, because there are numerous options. That is exactly where the Market Opportunity Navigator comes in handy.

Step 1 – Generating a Market Opportunity Set

The first step of the process enables you to deliberately take a step back and think broad. It begins with characterising your core technologies or unique abilities in their own right, to help you uncover different applications of these abilities, and different types of customers who may need them.

Worksheet 1 – Generating the Market Opportunity Set

Click on the image to view full size

The drone that Flyability develops has unique accessibility due to the decoupled and light protection cage that surrounds it. It can fly or roll on any surface, and will actually be able to operate in a wide range of temperatures and pressures. It will be piloted manually with an on-site video screen, even in very dark, smoked or dusty environments, but only for a limited duration due to battery limitations. Lastly, it can carry an automated, fully adjustable imagery system, with HD and thermal recordings that can be streamed online and analysed offline.

Flyability’s unique drones will therefore be able to inspect and explore inaccessible places – regardless of how complex and confined they are, thus avoiding the need to send humans to dangerous environments.

These unique abilities can be utilised for many different applications, including inspections, surveillance, deliveries, or entertainment – to name a few.

At its early stage, however, the company decided to examine those applications where it can bring real value from the start, including inspections of complex industry machineries, inspections of difficult-to- maintain infrastructures, and also security or search and rescue applications. As detailed in Worksheet 1, these applications can serve many types of customers.

After an initially rough screening, Flyability’s team decided to further examine those market opportunities that seemed more reachable, and especially those that mainly require in-door navigation (to suit the expected initial limitations of the drone).

Their Market Opportunity Set included five options

Click on the image to view full size

Step 2 – Setting the Attractiveness Map

The team was then ready for the next step, using Worksheet 2 to evaluate each of these possible market opportunities and placing them on the Attractiveness Map. This systematic evaluation examines each opportunity on two dimensions:

  • The overall potential for value creation
  • The overall challenge in capturing this value
Worksheet 2 – Evaluating market opportunity attractiveness

Click on the image to view full size

As an example, let’s look at how Flyability evaluated one market opportunity in their set: the inspection of thermal boilers in power plants.

Plants that convert heat energy into electric power, include huge boilers and super-heaters operating under extreme temperatures. These facilities must be inspected periodically, involving work at height, rope access, sky climbing, or scaffolding. Implementing safety measures, bringing in and installing inspection equipment and performing the actual inspection manually are not only lengthy processes that result in several days of shutdown, but also expose workers to high risks. Replacing a manned intervention with a collision-tolerant drone can thus bring significant value to these energy plants, allowing important savings in time, cost and safety.

The unique value that this drone can bring creates a ‘super-high’ compelling reason to buy. The market volume is quite big (there are about 100000 plants worldwide), and the economic viability is high, due to large expected margins and customers’ ability to pay. The overall potential was therefore estimated as ‘high’.

As for the challenge, the firm already had the know-how for developing the drone, and estimated both the implementation obstacles and the time to revenues as ‘mid’, taking into account the distribution requirements and the length of a sale cycle. The external risks seemed low, because competition is limited and success is not dependent on other parties. The overall challenge was therefore estimated as ‘low-mid’.

Overall, this seemed to be an attractive market opportunity, located in the Gold-Mine quadrant of the Attractiveness Map.

In a process that took few weeks, Flyability’s team assessed their other target markets in a similar manner. It was then possible to depict all these market opportunities on the Attractiveness map, to visually gauge and compare their value.

Click on the image to view full size

Step 3 – Designing the Agile Focus Strategy

Once they felt confident with the evaluation results, Flyability’s team could then use Worksheet 3 to design their Agile Focus Strategy. This strategy clearly defines your primary focus, and a smart portfolio of Backup and Growth options that you will keep open- to make sure you maintain your agility over time.

Worksheet 3 – Designing your Agile Focus Strategy

Click on the image to view full size

Examining the Attractiveness Map showed that inspecting boilers and heaters in energy plants was the most attractive market opportunity for FlyAbility at this stage. It offers a clear value proposition to a large-volume market, and encounters the least amount of challenge for becoming successful. Hence, the team decided that this will be their Primary Market Opportunity.

Once set, it was time to examine possible Backup and Growth options that will be kept open to mitigate risk and ensure maneuverability.
Three market opportunities were relevant candidates:

Inspections of storage tanks in the oil & gas industry – while the product was only somewhat related, as it required the ability to work in explosive areas, the markets were relatively close, especially since they shared the same distribution channels for non destructive testing equipment. Overall, this opportunity is suitable for future growth, and hence was kept open.

Inspections of vessels in the maritime industry – Although some stability improvements will be required, the product was tightly related. Yet, the customers only shared some similarities. Overall, this opportunity is also suitable for future growth, and hence was kept open.

Intelligence surveillance for police forces – This is the most unrelated opportunity. The product of course shares some similarities, yet the customers are completely distant: they don’t value the same benefits, and don’t share sales channels or word-of-mouth. In general, this opportunity bears different risks than that of the primary market, and hence was suitable to become a Backup option.

The last examined opportunity – Inspections of nuclear rooms in energy plants – was placed in storage for now, as it bears unique challenges of complying with radio-active environments, for a relatively low- volume market, making it the least attractive option.

Flyability’s Agile Focus Strategy was now set, and can be depicted on the Dartboard:

Click on the image to view full size

This strategic choice provided a clear marketing roadmap and a clear technological roadmap for Flyability’s managers. It enabled them to set the right development priorities, build the relevant networks, and design the proper marketing materials.

Moreover, the team had now the right skills for applying a well structured decision making process whenever it was time to rethink their strategy.

Success story: how startup Augury determined its market opportunities

Success story: how startup Augury determined its market opportunities

The tale of an Industrial IoT startup discovering a new strategic business tool.

Augury is bringing predictive maintenance technology to new markets. The technology combines two key shifts in the industry: artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. The intersection of these trends allows Augury to provide machines with a mechanical nervous system and the awareness to optimize their own health, thereby accelerating human productivity and safety.

Founded by Saar Yoskovitz (CEO) and Gal Shaul (CTO), and backed by leading venture capitalists, the company was recently recognized for its standout contribution, named one of CRNs Internet of Things top 50.

In the following blog, Co-founder and CEO Saar Yoskovitz describes how they chose their first market opportunity, with the help of a newly designed business tool.

Augury Startup Logo

 

Having a clear vision doesn’t automatically mean having a clear target market

When we founded Augury, we had a very clear vision in mind: ‘machines talk, and we should be able to understand what they are saying’. We wanted to develop a technology that listens to the sounds machines make to diagnose their problems and predict malfunctions.

An initial technological investigation revealed that developing this technology would be challenging yet doable. As we started working on this project, we quickly realized that machines are literally all around us – all the way from complicated manufacturing lines to simple home appliances. This raised an even more challenging question for us – how can we know what type of machine we should listen to, or choose which target market to focus on?

At times, it seemed like the possibilities were endless. As we looked closer at the market, many verticals were underserved by the existing solutions that were expensive and complicated to use. As a small team, we knew that we couldn’t possibly tackle all of these verticals at once, and therefore, had to focus our efforts on one.  But choosing a beachhead can be a complicated task.

We put great effort into narrowing our options to few market opportunities that we could more deeply investigate. It ranged from cars and complex industrial machinery, to air-conditioners and even the human body. We then embarked on the time-consuming task of researching these different markets to ensure we had all the necessary information at hand to make the right choice.

Using the right business tools

We followed the Lean Startup approach to test our assumptions on each of these market opportunities. We performed interviews, showed mockups, handed out surveys, and visited several conferences to validate our assumptions and to better understand the business environment of each option.

The more information we gathered, the more perplexed we felt. We tried to work systematically and to document our learning, but each iteration generated even more questions to be answered.  Each option had different upsides and downsides, and it felt like comparing apples to oranges lacking a clear framework through which to put all the options on the same map. Eventually, after many hours of research, hard work and tough decisions, we found our way and began to navigate the industrial markets.

When I later learned about the Market Opportunity Navigator, it was abundantly clear to me that such a tool would have helped us focus and streamline our decision-making process. And we have been using the tool ever since.

The Market Opportunity Navigator , a new business tool designed by entrepreneurship professors and researchers Marc Gruber and Sharon Tal, helps founders set a smart market strategy. The Navigator is a structured framework for identifying, evaluating, and strategizing your market opportunities. It is visual and easy to apply, with 3 dedicated worksheets to walk you through these 3 steps. But most importantly – for us at least – we found a way to make sense of all the data we gather, and make more informed choices.

At the heart of this method lies the Attractiveness Map – a simple two-by-two matrix, to map out your options based on two dimensions: the potential of each market, and the challenge in capturing it. A special worksheet guides you through the process of measuring each dimension. The overall potential is assessed by evaluating the compelling reason to buy, the market volume and the economic viability of the opportunity. The overall challenge is assessed by evaluating the implementation obstacles, the time to generating revenues and the external risks. Once you are done, you can place each option on the Attractiveness Map, and finally compare apples to oranges.

The matrix divides your options into four groups: Moon-shots (high potential, high challenge), Gold-mines (high potential, low challenge), Quick-wins (low potential, low challenge) and Questionable opportunities (low potential, high challenge). For us, it was great to see that we had a Gold-mine market opportunity – one that stood out over the others. It was the auxiliary equipment and infrastructure of large industrial and commercial facilities.  A complicated strategic choice turned into a structured and manageable task.

Augury Tool in Use

As a bonus, we also liked how the tool guides us through the process of designing our strategy to remain agile without losing focus. It guides us on how to select backup and growth options, and on how to devote the right amount of attention to keep them open.

Now that our initial market is maturing, we yet again find ourselves searching for our next vertical. If you visit our offices you will see the sticky notes and worksheets of the Market Opportunity Navigator on our walls as we select our next market.