Last week I had the opportunity to talk to a group about using market research in their small business.
For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, I am almost preachy in regards to this. Many businesses, especially small businesses, do not do an extensive amount of research when they start their business. Even fewer do it formally during the course of their business. The reasons vary greatly from cost to not seeing the need. However, to grow your top line in today's economic environment, doing formal market research may be one of the best investments in your company. Here are some great market research methods to grow your business.
- Surveys: By doing surveys with your customers, you can determine why they buy from you and not your competition. You can also determine any number of key items that are important to your business like the frequency of their purchases, level of satisfaction, chances of referral, and, maybe most importantly, likelihood to be a repeat customer.
- Focus groups and interview current and past clients: Customer focus groups and interviews can help any business in a variety of areas. Similar to surveys in the regard of determine any number of key items, the purpose of these is to acquire direct customer based feedback regarding your company's products or services. However, the information is not as quantifiable but is a "softer" approach. Also, based on the way you do it, you can make these groups and interviews more of an event with a meal and social gathering.
- Internet searches: Internet searches is one of the easiest and the least expensive of the ways mentioned here. As a "answer provider" you can search the internet for competition, learning about new trends in your industry, or what customers are saying about you. Before you start, know what you want to accomplish, as you can end up going down a rabbit hole very easily.
- Database searches: There are a number of databases that are out there. Based on where you live, you may have access to some great ones. For example, if you have a Wake County (NC) library card, you can get access to Hoover's Online, a business research platform allows you to search U.S. and international company listings by industry, size, & geography to create marketing plans, conduct competitive analysis, and raise funds. Currently, there are 85,835,113 businesses. You can use this database to look for competition or potential customers, if you are a B2B company.
All of these methods can help you grow your business. By implementing them as a regular course, you make research a pattern in the growth and success of your business.
What are some ways you used market research to grow your business?
--J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog "Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business". If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at email@example.com.