Series: Launching a New Venture
By Rob C. Masri, CEO, Cardagin Networks, Inc.
Is there a Market Need? Is there a Market Demand? When I first began to think about Cardagin, I was focusing a lot on the consumer perspective. Personally, I like to save money so when the economy began to tank and the stock market began to crash, I started looking for ways to save a little here and a little there.
Accordingly, I would pick the paper and plastic loyalty cards from local businesses and I would force my wife to go through the ValPak and the local newspaper to look for good coupons. And why not? It’s free money. I was going to go to these places anyway. I may as well start accumulating status or get a discount. However, carrying the cards and the coupons became very inconvenient and somewhat annoying. My wallet resembled George Costanza’s. I think I threw my back off of alignment at least twice.
What was even worse was losing the cards – all of those visits and whatever status I may have accumulated down the drain. It seemed like every week I was asking:: “Where’s that card again? Can I get one of those cards again.” In fact, that’s how I came up with the name for the company – Card Again. But if the company was limited to just the consumer perspective, I doubt we would have the opportunities and the prospects that we have today.
I knew that in order to have a truly viable company, there needed to be a two-sided market. From personal experience, I could prove that there was demand and need on the consumer side, but what about on the business side? What were their pressure points? What were their needs? Most importantly, would they be willing to pay for our solution? I didn’t want to fall into the trap of building something that’s just cool or that satisfied my personal desire, I wanted to build something that I could monetize and that solved a major business problem.
Before writing the business plan for Cardagin, I did a lot of research. I spent a lot of time visiting business owners, asking questions and gathering data. Only then did I put pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard) to begin writing the plan. I will share what I discovered in my next blog post, but the point is – do your homework. Don’t expect your solution to find a problem. Make sure the problem exists and then create the solution.