If you’re considering starting a business it doesn’t matter whatever it is you’re thinking of doing, in whatever field or part of the country, you simply will not be able to get away from the fact that you will be required to do some Market Research. Simply put, it’s essential that you have an understanding of the cultural, social and economic context in which you’re trading. You’ll need to know about the local area, what your competition is, and what people will be prepared to pay for your product or service.
This advice has never been more relevant than in current economic times because the competition is so much tougher. Smart flexible businesses will have already adapted to the trading conditions and the inflexible, poorly organised ones will probably have already gone to the wall. You may have to compete with much larger, successful and sometimes international companies with more financial clout and an existing customer base and the only chance you’ll have will be if you’ve spent some time and effort in figuring out what the do’s and don’ts are related to your business and your industry sector.
Have a look at our 5 Quick Tips below:
1. What Questions do you need answers to?
This can cover a wide range of subjects – Marketing / Finance needed / Staff levels / Product Placement etc etc.
2. What information do you need to collect in order to answer the questions above?
How much are customers willing to pay for the product / service?
Who are main competitors?
What are the most successful or cost effective ways to market?
How many staff do you need to start, operate and expand?
How much money do you need to start?
3. How do you collect the information?
Is there existing Research already available to browse or purchase?
Can you monitor online companies that you’d potentially be competing against to draw conclusions or possible answers?
Can you order a product from a competitor to assess its quality or compare costs with what you would be looking to supply?
Are there reviews for an individual’s or company’s services or products?
4. How do I analyse the results?
Do I need to be cheaper or can I charge more than the competition and aim to provide a superior service?
Do online reviews indicate the product / service is being purchased on quality, service or price?
What are the selling points for a product / service and how would do I make myself stand out?
Why are customers ordering that product / service?
5. What to do with the Results?
This last point is wholly dependent upon the questions and analysis you’ve already done. Get these wrong and you’ll be making decisions based upon the wrong facts, conclusions and information.
If however you have asked all the right all questions and gleaned pertinent information from all of the above activities then you’ll need to act on what you’ve learnt. These are undoubtedly the most difficult decisions you’ll have to make – you may have to discard certain firmly held beliefs based upon what you’ve now learnt to be facts.
Holding on to what you hold dear when every piece of information you have tells you something completely different is normally the start of a business disaster! You’re not going to be your own customer and if you’ve asked the right questions of those that potentially will be then you need to listen to the answers they provide!
Change can be extremely difficult but in these circumstances it is imperative it is done, as we mentioned at the start of this post you will be competing against companies that have made changes and may already have an existing customer base. If you want to nab some of their customer’s as your own you’ll need to provide what it is they want, desire and have asked for!