What’s behind these letters and how to calculate these indicators?

If you have ever presented your startup to an investor, you probably came across the question “What’s your TAM? SAM? SOM?” It’s quite hard to answer on the spot - you should know your target market’s structure and the productive capacity of your startup in detail.

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The purpose of this article - to make clear once and for all what these indicators mean and how to calculate them.

TAM (Total Addressable Market)

It is the total market demand for a product or a service. When calculating TAM you don’t take into account competition, geography, demographics. Of course, everything goes better with examples.

  1. You sell tea. Your TAM - global tea market size in $ (all tea, sold in all countries to anybody)
  2. Your product is software for e-shops. Your TAM - revenue of all companies that was generated by selling e-commerce software in $
  3. You want to open a supermarket chain. Your TAM - revenue of all supermarkets in the world in $.

To calculate your TAM you can research in the internet and find sizes of different markets in open sources. For example, alliedmarketresearch.com, statista.com or any other reliable source. Don’t forget to indicate where the data was taken from.

SAM (Serviceable Available Market)

It is the part of the total addressable market that can be acquired. Here you should consider geographical and demographic issues. Will your product/service be available only in your city/country or not? Who are your target customers - young people 18 - 30 yrs or, maybe, people aged 25-50 whose incomes are above middle?

  1. Tea. If you are going to sell tea e.g. only in EU, your SAM is EU tea market size in $.
  2. Software. Will your software fit all e-shops? Or only clothes/furniture/accessories e-shops? Will your software be useful for all e-shops or only for ones with big trade turnover? Deal with such questions and define SAM on the basis of your calculations.
  3. Supermarket. Are you going to open high-end supermarkets only in New York? Your SAM - part of TAM that goes to this type of NY supermarkets.

To calculate SAM use open data taking into account geographical and demographic issues or conduct your own market research.

SOM (Serviceable Obtainable Market)

It is the part of your SAM that your business model can currently realistically serve. Now your productive capacity, situation on the target market and other current issues come to play. SOM is usually calculated for year 3 or/and year 5 (What market share will I obtain in 3 years? In 5 years?)

  1. Tea. You probably can’t provide all the EU with tea from the first day. First of all, you don’t have enough tea, employees, factories. Second, there are other competitors. Calculate SOM on the basis of your marketing strategy (what market share will you be able to obtain by year ....?) and your productive capacity (how much tea will you be able to produce and later sell?)
  2. Software. The situation is the same. What will your approximate market share be in 3 years?
  3. Supermarket. There is no doubt that the most loyal customers will be the people that live in the vicinity. NY is a very big city with a lot of supermarkets, so if you open less than 10 supermarkets, SOM will hardly be at least 1% of SAM

To calculate SOM in a proper way you should have a clear market strategy and know your target market well.

TAN, SAM and SOM explained

Why are these indicators so important? The potential value of your startup in several years and return on investment are calculated on the basis of TAM/SAM/SOM. Any savvy investor will ask you about these indicators; moreover, the figures should be backed up by a clear strategy, market research and data from reliable sources.

If you want to understand how to calculate these vital for investors indicators in a proper way, register your startup profile on InnMind and get the support from team of experts. And try the free startup valuation calculator to estimate the fair value of your startup.

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