Rapid Market Appraisal: A Manual for Trainers

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This manual is a part of a series that reflects the experiences of the ILO’s FIT programme and follows the methods practiced by Mr. Katendwa in the Rapid Market Appraisal (RMA) course, a three-day course for trainers. The manual is aimed at trainers, agencies and groups who encourage the development of micro and small-scale enterprises (MSEs). More specifically, it is aimed at those agencies which are interested in promoting self-sustaining Business Development Services. The authors note that marketing is an area often neglected by both MSEs and support agencies alike, and many MSEs face problems with a decreasing market as competition for the same product increases. They contend that product innovation based on sound market knowledge is rare, though attention to this area is likely to help businesses grow.

The manual describes a three-day course that takes entrepreneurs through the steps of understanding market demand, developing innovative products, and surveying their local market to assess the potential of the new products.

Rapid Market Appraisal helps MSEs develop marketable products and sensitizes them to the importance of marketing. Most MSEs tend to be fully occupied producing their goods and services. They tend to get their ideas for products from their competitors, until the market is saturated with numerous small producers all competing for a smaller and smaller portion of a limited market. MSEs tend to seek customers based on personal relationships, like relatives and friends, instead of using innovative products to attract new customers. They rarely ask their customers how they could improve their products or services. RMA helps MSEs recognize the needs and opportunities present in the marketplace. When clients become a source of information, ideas for new and improved products can be exploited. The demand for the product can be assessed so that only marketable products are produced and the MSE begins to realize the importance of putting the customer first.

Following the introduction, Chapter 2 presents the case for facilitating Rapid Market Appraisal training. Chapter 3 gives a step-by-step approach to conducting RMA training. The emphasis is on training trainers, who in turn will train MSEs, hopefully largely on a for-profit basis. Chapter 4 provides pointers for monitoring and evaluating the training and makes some suggestions for future innovations.

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