I can say that the best way to acquire knowledge about starting a business, or to learn something about the scope of one's idea or concept, is directly in starting the business. From my own experience, I know that the amount of what you learn is enormous and in many cases more relevant than the knowledge you gain from "theory." "Entrepreneurs in Residence" provided me with a suitable platform for this, to expand my knowledge, to explore the potential market for my startup idea by means of a market analysis, to obtain feedback and finally to assess whether my startup concept of a "mobile cleaning service" actually meets some needs.
My analysis of the market
Classically, the market analysis was initially conducted via paper-and-pencil interview, but later, due to lack of efficiency and because it is a very laborious method, the format was changed to online questionnaires. Questions about the importance of a cleaning service, potential frequency of use, and what price potential customers would pay, gave me some idea of what my possible market looked like and what services might be used most often and what prices I could probably call up for them.
In addition, based on the resulting user profile, I was able to work out that my potential market would probably be best reached through digital marketing via YouTube ads, Instagram ads and mass campaigns. The best option for this is to target influencers on social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Public campaigns targeting mass consumers can be achieved through the idea that cleaning and ironing clothes is a task that should be made easier with a proper service.
Meanwhile, the initial idea of offering a mobile laundry service through VANs to be able to respond to peaks in demand and to be active at key locations at certaion time points has turned out to be fatal. In terms of capital investment, I did not calculate correctly and have now found that mobile VANs are a high risk in terms of capital management and profit development. It turned out that it would be better to choose static locations in different zip code areas and use electric bicycles to cover the distances for delivery. The hub-and-spoke model may be a suitable supply chain management system in this case.
Further, I now know that while the market for my idea is open and also exists in principle, a merger with existing laundry service providers is necessary. The resulting goal is to provide cleaning services from a single source. The merger can be based on license fees paid to the existing service providers.
Through the market analysis, I was able to identify the needs and interests of the broad masses from the corporate sector for cheap, reliable, fast and door-to-door cleaning services. It is also clear from the gross calculations that the concept can be profitable if implemented correctly. Now the business model needs to be refined and final tasks executed in the next phase. This is what I have planned for the next phase of my residency.