Conduct market research into developing a small business idea

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Last updated: April 16, 2019

The idea is to set up a speed dating service called ‘Milan’ (in Hindi meaning to meet), taking place online and through organised parties in certain venues over London. This service will be directly targeted at Young British Asians, males and females of all castes. The concept of this venture is to introduce people of similar backgrounds to one another.

BackgroundSpeed dating started back in 1999 in America by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo. It was intended to keep Jewish singles from marrying outside their faith. Little did he know that this would turn into a global phenomenon.According to America’s big three speed-dating companies, the industry has grown more than 400 percent in the past 2 years, making it the first dating phenomenon unique to the 21st century1.The rules of speed dating are very simple. A group of singles gather together at a selected venue, which are then paired off and given a certain time (usually 3 minutes) to get to know each other. After the time is up they then move on to the next person and the whole speed dating process continues again.

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At the end of the show, if there is mutual interest, both the parties will be notified of each others email address so that they can further pursue the relationship.Speed dating singles generally need Internet access to secure an account on the company’s website in order to register for an event.Market AnalysisTrends in datingAccording to Mintel2, evidence suggests that the new century has prompted people to increase their efforts to find a partner that adds to the existing demand for dating agencies. The dating agency is still largely unregulated therefore quantifying demand of dating agencies remains problematic due to the wide range of services which fall under this category (such as speed dating).The dating agency market is a growth sector3. Mintel estimated that membership rose by 10% in 1999. The growth in this demand is increasing due to the rising number of single people.

Single person households now comprise 30% of the total number of households and this proportion is forecast to rise to 36% by 2016. Longevity is not the only reason for the rising number of singles. The annual divorce rate continues at nearly 50% of the number of marriages.

Increase in career ambitions and the persistence of the single lifestyle are delaying life choices for many professionals. As young people enter their thirties, the chance of meeting available partner’s decreases and the attraction of the dating agency service becomes more real. If this is the case, there may be a problem to my service since my target audience is 22-30. However the thirty something are less likely to be the sole players in the dating game of the future.

Numbers in the 25-34 age groups will decline by 10% from 8.80million to 7.96 million in the next five years. This implies that the potential market for dating agencies will be shrinking over the next few years.Those who are single and are post family are generally more optimistic about meeting partners through dating services. The 25-34 age groups are more positive in its attitude to the effectiveness of dating services.

Although there is a large rise in the number of working women, and corresponding levels of women having a first child later in life, another important factor in the growth of the single lifestyle is the rise if number of single men. From 1971 to 2016, the number of the male single-person households is set to rise from 3% to 13% of total households.Attitudes to dating agenciesNearly one in two agreed with the statement that ‘I would never use a dating agency’. This response continued by attitudes to relationships, rather than prejudice against the concept of the dating agency.Although men view the idea of using a dating agency as a ‘second best’ option they are more likely to respond positively to it than women.Attitudes are neither strongly biased against dating agencies or for against dating agencies. This may reflect people’s inexperience and lack of knowledge when it comes to such agencies (see appendix 1).

Adults aged 25-34 view the dating agency more favourably than adults in any other age group. Positive perceptions of dating agencies decline with age, but this is due to attitudes of the high number of those aged over 55 who do not want to form a new relationship.The InternetInternet services do pose a challenge to the dating agency.

However, most successful agencies have already incorporated the Internet in their product offer. ‘Milan’ will have its own website; therefore it would be essential that members are able to have access to the Internet.Over the period July to September 2003 an estimated 11.9 million households in the UK could access the Internet from home, according to the Expenditure and Food Survey (EFS). That amounts to 48% of all UK households.4 Individuals can use a range of technologies to access the Internet but computers continue to dominate as the preferred method of access.Competitor Analysis’Milan’ will face competition in the form of direct and indirect competitors in the market.

The direct competitors in this case consists of other speed dating agencies, the most direct would be www.asianspeed8.com5, who offer a similar service to that of mine. Indirect competition will come from matrimonial websites, one of the main ones being Shaadi (wedding). Com. Although this service does not include speed dating, it offers people the opportunity to meet members through online profiles and then contacting via email. A service such as this would most probably attract those who prefer a more traditional approach to matchmaking since speed dating can be quiet off putting for people and may not be up for meeting around 30 people in one night.

UK’s main speed dating agency is speeddater.co.uk.

They offer events for all backgrounds, including those for Asians. However these are for Asians in general and not split into categories like ‘Milan’. Asianspeed8’s events are subdivided in to Hindu, Muslim and Sikh.

‘Milan’ will take this a step further by breaking Hindu and Muslim into their separate castes (backgrounds).Customer AnalysisMany mother and fathers are encouraging their professional sons and daughters to attend speed dating since it is the perfect way to speed the marriage process, who discard the talk of matrimony by telling their parents that they are too busy with their careers to find a partner.Rakesh from Leicester met Sonia, at a speed-dating event.

”My parents encouraged me to go on one of these things” he said. ”They feel that at an age of 25 I should have a plan to marry by my late 20’s”.6Segmentation AnalysisDemographicThe proposed target audience would be single male and females in the age range of 22-30. ‘Milan’ is appealing to this age range to attract those who have just graduated from university and at professionals looking for someone out of their normal circle of friends. The service is also for the new generation of Asians who are not looking for the traditional way of meeting new people.PsychographicsThousands of British Asians are discarding traditional ways of meeting a partner and attending speed dating nights across the country.

This latest dating phase is a sweeping departure from that traditional way that British Muslims and Hindus meet their partners.Being forced into an arranged marriage may be a thing of the past for most young British Asians. Young Asians are finding speed-dating the perfect way to meet potential partners from the same religious and ethnic background, and to take control of the process themselves7.However there are sceptics within the Asian dating organisations who are against the speed dating process. Mr Bhargava from Suman marriage Bureau International says ”Speed dating is not really the way for Asian partners to be sought in the current day and age.

Issues overlooked by speed dating are the question of caste, which many people still have concerns about, and the issue of family background”8.GeographicThis service will be aiming at targeting people in the London area. If successful then it could lead to other cities in the UK. Ideally all information on events will be found on the business website which can be accessed easily if having connection to the Internet. Events are most likely to take place in Central London. 35% of all Asians in the UK live in the London area (734,000). Indians are the largest single ethnic minority group in Britain, followed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis9.

BehaviouralMeeting the perfect partner of your dreams is becoming more of a challenge. The busy lifestyles of many of today’s professionals often leave little time for socialising10. For young Asians, it is a great way to meet a new partner. Just a few decades ago, many Asian couples met through introductions from their parents and arranged marriages were still common. It is becoming more common to experiment with the new ways of dating. Speed dating feels fun, safe and relaxed. For many young Asians it shows that their cultures are moving forward to embrace new ways of finding a partner, often from similar cultures, backgrounds and professions11.

Unique Selling Point (USP)The USP of this business is that it aims at young British Asians. There are many other agencies that cater for Asians, but this service will break it up into the various communities in the Asian society (as mentioned earlier). The service will aim at each caste individually, which other services may lack.The Marketing MixService’Milan’ is a speed-dating agency targeting at the 22-30 age group, males and females.

This particular service will be aimed at Asians. Each event is sub divided into Hindu, Muslim and Sikh and then again sub divided into their separate castes. Speed dating is essential with each partner having just 3 minutes to make an impression on the opposite sex.The USP is that this service is for Asians only, and since each group is dub divided into each caste and background, there is perhaps a better chance of meeting your perfect partner.According to speed dating 101, it has been reported that statistically more than 50%walks away with a potential match. This form of dating ensures that your choices of partners are much wider and much easier to find12.A disadvantage of this service would be that daters could walk away without meeting anyone and some may feel that 3 minutes is not enough time to get to know someone.PriceThe cost of attending a speed-dating event is �18.

This is fairly reasonable since the entry cost of bars/clubs is usually �10, therefore a little bit more for an event. This price is the lower than Asianspeed8’s events (�20), which should hopefully encourage people to attend ‘Milan’ rather than another dating event. The problem lies with there only being a �2 difference on the price.

There is no guarantee that people will attend ‘Milan’ events than any other. A non-dating ticket (if participants would like to bring someone along) would cost �10. Speeddater.co.uk and Asianspped8 charge �12.50.PromotionPromotion is a communication process that will enable ‘Milan’ to promote this service. Advertising is an important factor, as it will create awareness, to build a reputation, leading to an increase of sales.

Speed dating is still a relatively new area in the dating market and people may not be aware of its concept. To promote ‘Milan’, a range of promotion techniques will be used. Leaflets will be distributed at Asian nightspots such as Bar Bollywood and Club Wild. Asian newspapers and magazines shall also be used such as Eastern Eye and Snoop Life, which target young Asian people13. Radio advertising can also be used such as Club Asia whose target audience are the ‘young sound of London’14.’Milan’ will also have its own website (www.

milan.com) which will enable daters to learn about and register to the service. It is therefore essential that consumers have access to the Internet. Research shows that 88% of 16-24 year olds and 76% of 25-44 years have access to the Internet15.PlaceThe registration process will take place online; therefore the main operations will take place from my own home computer.There is no fixed location since events will be taking place over various venues in the Greater London area.

PeopleStaff will be require to work as hosts on event nights, as this can not be done single handing. Alongside this staff will be needed to work on the website.ProcessThe number of staff required will depend on the demand for the service. Currently there is only myself who shall be running the service, however due to lack of experience on the dating market and on building a website, I may have to hire someone to build a professional website for me (which can start at a cost of from �500- �200016). Tickets for events can only be purchased online.Physical EvidenceThe website needs to be clear and concise. Consumers need to know exactly what the service includes and how to register for the service. All events nights should be run in a professional manner.

SWOT analysisStrengthso ‘Milan’ is unique is the way Asian’s are sub divided into their separate castes and communities. The breakdown can help to find a perfect match. It is therefore providing for the Asian community as a whole.o It is easy to find out about events and to register for the service via the company’s website.

o This form of dating allows people to meet up to 30 potential partners of their choice. However there is no guarantee that one of these 30 is what people are looking for. Unlike online dating where consumers can usually view profiles and see that they are contacting, speed dating means that you meet people there and then.Weaknesseso Experience is essential for any new business idea. Lack of expertise can cause problems. Due to this, current situations in the market may be misinterpreted.

o The demand for dating services is unpredictable. Speed dating is relatively new and everyone may not accept the idea. However negative perceptions of the effectiveness of a dating service are beginning to change, particularly among the young. This can be due to the changes and wider media exposure of the problems of single life17.o The trend using dating services is encouraged among the 25-34 age groups; this is slightly out of my target audience, therefore enabling ‘Milan’ to capture a larger audience.o There is financial risk involved. There are lot of cost to take into consideration such as venue hire and press advertising. There is a risk of not attracting people to ‘Milan’ events; it will take time to get established.

Opportunitieso If the events are successful, then perhaps the business could extend its services to online dating, this would be beneficial for those who are not willing to go speed dating.o If the Asian market is proved successful, then perhaps events could be organised for other nationalities.Threatso Major threats would be from competitors. There is already established speed dating agencies in the UK, the main being from Asianspeed8.com. This could create a prize war between both companies.

o The attitudes, perceptions and reactions from consumers are unknown, and this will be uncertain until ‘Milan’ is fully established into the market.o The whole speed-dating concept may not be as popular as it is now. Mintel report that the outlooks for dating services are positive over the next five years, however their future outlooks are unknown18.

ConclusionTo conclude, the above research shows that ‘Milan’ has potential to introduce this service into the market. There are many services that provide ‘Speed dating, however Asian speed dating is not so large, therefore providing a niche in the market19. The idea is feasible but since the industry is largely unregulated, it is unpredictable to say how long speed dating will stay in demand. Disadvantages such as competition, lack of knowledge and financial constraints could lead to the downfall of the service.

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