Monday, December 19, 2011

David Fisher's Workshops at the Small Business Center

Psychographics. Not a word one hears every day. Although it’s a word David Fisher uses in his marketing workshops at the Maui County Business Resource Center (MCBRC) located in the Maui Mall near the IHOP. Workshops run about an hour long, and are free to Maui residents. Isn't Small Business Center a much shorter name?

But what is psychographics?  David’s definition: Psychographics comprise the opinions, behaviors, and beliefs of various social groups. Whereas demographics are the kind of data the census is interested in: age, race, sex, marital status, geographical location, education level, etc., psychographic data would pertain to cultural groups like extreme sports enthusiasts or new age seekers. David mentioned a well-known psychographics researcher, so I tried googling "Yan Kelowitzch" but found nothing, due to my spelling. But I did find a Richard Kielbowicz who seems to do a lot of research on psychographics.

In the video clip below, David describes some psychographic groups on Maui.

I haven’t looked at all my notes from a recent workshop DH and I attended with David Fisher in November, on “Evaluating Your Business Idea.”  The attendees included a young mother who wants healthy fast food, a filmmaking student at Akaku, and another woman who wants to start a day care center geared toward yoga moms (or at least that’s how I remember it).  David encouraged people to introduce themselves and share as much or as little of their business idea that they were comfortable sharing in public.  He said in one class, four chefs attended, and they all ended up networking with each other.

David discussed the Market Research Matrix. I only vaguely recall this chart without my notes. There is qualitative versus quantitative research. Primary (what YOU think, notice) vs. secondary research (other people’s ideas/research). An example of quantitative secondary research is looking at financial statements of other businesses in a particular industry. Qualitative primary research includes shopping the competition or talking to suppliers.

David also talked about the "5 P's of Marketing," which I filmed. The video quality isn't great, because of the lighting, but it gives a sense of his talk.

One interesting point David said is that you can ask for other people’s opinions on an idea, but don’t rely only on opinion, since people may not “walk their talk.” By the way, watching and listening to what people do and say falls under "Qualitative, Secondary Market Research." 

Another point David made is not to spend a lot of time making a really long business plan that may be out of date by the time you want to implement it. He recommended doing a more casual, short 1-2 page business plan to focus on the idea.  He also warned against locking in a business idea too soon – write out several variations of the business idea and business strategies to different market segments, and then do the market research.  Otherwise you could limit the possibilities of your idea.

David did a cash flow overview and talked about forecasting, and other things that are more technical. The things that David and I have in common, besides living in rainy Haiku, are we both go to the Maui Farmer’s Union meetings in Pukalani and drag our significant others to those meetings, and blog. David’s blog is so you can find out about entrepreneurial tidbits like crowdfunding for your jungalow cottage industry, if you’ve developed a business idea.  The "Small Business Center," officially known as the MCBRC, also offers free business consulting by retired business executives through the SCORE program plus lots of free workshops each month. Visit their calendar here.

By the way, it's definitely worthwhile to go to a workshop in person, although I think David is offering some web-based workshops. Going in person is a way to meet other people and network, and generate new ideas. For example, one of the volunteers from this workshop may help get all the workshops at the MCBRC filmed, and aired on Akaku's public access channel. Let's see more small businesses succeed on Maui!


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