Market Sizing: Why and How

Quick PaaP Test: Someone walks up to you at a party and wants you to join their teleportation company.  Do you care if the market for teleportation is big?

Well, what you care about is not whether the market is big or small, but whether or not you can make a lot of money in it.  And that depends.

Some big markets are already done; the players are set, the money is flowing, there’s no room for newcomers to make a difference or make a score.

Think soft drinks today.  A huge market, but no big transformations.  It’s trench warfare: a few points of share for Pepsi, a few points for Coke.

You would want a market where a new change was happening, an old order was about to blown away, and there was a real chance for newcomers to grab a lot of new business.

So, #1 characteristic of a market: is a lot of money likely to change hands soon?

I call this a “big wind”.  Is a big wind blowing in this market?

#2 question: how much of that big wind can the teleportation company get?

Savants call this the “addressable market”, and it’s not a simple question to answer.

To answer it right, you have to have a model of how money is going to be taken away from the incumbents, how the customers are going to shift over, what will be the reasons that will pry the first, second, and third waves of customers away from the old solution.  And you need to quantify those waves.

#2 characteristic of a market: a bottom-up analysis of addressable opportunity.

Sadly, most market sizing work in presentations is the opposite of this:


What Investors Want to Know

What the usual pitch contains

Big Wind Is a lot of money going to change hands in this market? Is this a big market?
Addressable Market A bottom-up analysis of how customers will transfer to new solution “If we could just get 2% of this [huge] market we’d be rich”

You see what’s wrong here?  The usual pitch contains easy answers to non-problems; investors want hard answers to real problems that the business might face.

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