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Q&A: 3 Pertinent Questions from the public to the Business Section of BBC’s Website

Q: How do you find out whether there is a market for your product, or if it is something that is unlikely to succeed?

A: President of computer games business Eidos, Ian Livingstone, advises against trying something purely on a whim.  He emphasises the importance of researching the market you’re interested in entering: “All markets change over time, sometimes dramatically as witnessed during the current economic downturn. However, with challenge comes opportunity.  The current transition from traditional retail to e-commerce, from product to service, from analogue to digital whilst challenging from some, offer great opportunities to others.  The important thing is to spot the real opportunity for which you have the skills and go for it.”

Q: If you have not had much sales experience, what is the best way to learn how to sell your products/services?

A: Founder of US food chain Smashburger, Tom Ryan, points out the fact it is becoming increasing complex for entrepreneurs and retailers to reach customers, due to the proliferation in different types of new social and digital channels.  He states, “We use a layered approach at Smashburger, primarily based on a fundamental understanding of our customer target.  A combination of traditional advertising, primarily print and radio, coupled with Facebook, website and digital/ loyalty works for us.  We also use public relations to drive trade area, city wide, and national awareness. Of course, having a solid sense of how to communicate the consumer benefits and differentiators of your brand is key.”

Q: How do you work out what to charge your customers/clients?

A: Founder of luxury of German hi-fi company Burmester, Dieter Burmester, charges up to 150,000 euros (£125,000) for his hi-fi systems.  He says, “Just like any other traditional manufacturer of luxury goods, we have to take into consideration development costs, component costs, expenses for the manufacturing process, and the marketing measures when we calculate the price for one of our products.”  Because his products have become known for their good quality and reliability, customers are prepared to pay more.  Burmester quotes the carmaker Sir Henry Royce: “The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

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