Market research is extremely important to business success. I am sure you have heard it time and time again. And now you are hearing it again.
Well, the reason why everyone keeps saying it is that it is actually a proven fact. Good research can mean the difference between, business success and a meeting with the bankruptcy team.
Research if done properly, can give you meaningful information that will give you a valuable competitive advantage. With good research information, decisions become better.
Without good research, your business won`t survive. The academic research methods involve dividing data into different classes.
Now, this is not an academic piece, so I won`t go into all that. All I am simply going to do is just tell you practical things you can do when researching a market.
So how do you conduct effective research?
Research these days is now much easier and cheaper to conduct, thanks to the internet. Therefore you have no excuse for not using good research information in your business because you can do it cheaply.
Let me show you how. There are a few factors you may need to consider when you do your research.
Firstly, you conduct research to find out what customers want
You will find that one of the biggest business research resources is the internet. Go onto to forums and see what people are complaining about. Log on to product review platforms and see what customers are dissatisfied about from the product.
Customers tend to be very frank and honest when reviewing products. This can give you valuable information that you can then use in your start-up. Be careful though, some product reviewers are paid by manufacturers to go onto these platforms and can give misleading product reviews.
Another way you could approach this research is to go out there and actually talk to potential customers.
Find out what products they buy on a regular basis, why they prefer those products over competitors` products, and find out what customers wish existed but sadly doesn’t. You can then look to capitalize on the satisfaction gaps in available products and try to offer something better.
Secondly, you research you competition
Once again, thank God for the internet. You can find out almost everything you need to know about a business competitor by simply visiting their website.
It will tell you what sort of services or products they are offering, the prices they are charging and some companies even publish their own financial results on their websites.
Looking at these financial results can reveal to you if they are performing well or are struggling, and that can help you plan your business better.
You can also go on review platforms and see the reviews of your competitors themselves. See what complaints customers` have about their company, their services. See also what they do well.
The best way to defeat an enemy is to know their strengths and weaknesses. You can easily know what your competitors do well and what they do badly just by looking at a company`s reviews.
Thirdly, Research your suppliers
Where are you going to purchase your products from? Who is going to supply what you need to run your business? You need to know your suppliers very well.
In fact, you need to know everything there is to know about them. Research them inside-out before you make one transaction. Find out how long they have been in the business for, how big they are, look for their financial results and see how much borrowing they have on their accounts.
Trust me if they are heavily borrowed you may want to rethink your strategy when dealing with them. Highly borrowed suppliers tend to go bankrupt, and if you were heavily dependent on them you could find yourself unable to service your own customers.
Again go on supplier reviews and investigate how they have been dealing with their customers, what problems others have had with them etc.
You must have all the information you need to safeguard your business. Nothing must be taken for granted. You simply have to do competitors and suppliers` audit on a regular basis. Nothing that happens must take you by surprise.
You must know everything you need to know before it happens. That way you can be able to plan for all eventualities.
Other Areas To Research
Other areas that you may want to research are the economy, employment trends, changes to relevant legislations, insurance (comparison sites can help here), etc.
Basically, all external parties that affect your business in any way shape or form must be thoroughly investigated. You should never underestimate the power of research information.
That means that you must always review your own methods of research. Trust me, research information is good and reliable to the extent to which the method used is reliable and effective.
Poorly gathered information won`t help you or your business. It may be necessary to pay for qualified research from research professionals. I assure you it is a very worthwhile investment.
Your business may depend on this information for future survival. If used effectively, business research information can mean the difference between growing your turnover into millions or, struggling to break even.
Now you can see how valuable effective research can be
Therefore, when you set up your own business, you must make sure you have a research framework in place within your operational plan. That has to be a must.
Here are some of the organizations you can look at that provide research information you can use for your business.
These organizations have been provided to you here as a starting point. It is entirely your own responsibility to conduct your own research on these research providers and make your own informed decisions as to whether you should do business with them or not.
Do not engage in business transactions with them merely because I have mentioned them here.