For small companies, making decisions about new products or services is often based on hunches and instincts. Sometimes everything is right and the hunch results in a wonderful addition to their offerings. Other times it goes down in flames.
We aren’t talking about hiring PhD’s for heavy analysis and statistical manipulation with multiple sources of data. We are talking about something much more realistic for small businesses: just making phone calls or creating short surveys to get a sense of whether anyone would use that new software you’re considering, or to determine how much that new service will be used.
We found an oldie but goodie article from Forbes on some market research basics. The best quote in that article summarizes the benefits like this: "Failure to do market research before you begin a business venture or during its operation is like driving a car from Texas to New York without a map or street signs," says William Bill of Wealth Design Group LLC in Houston. "You have know which direction to travel and how fast to go. A good market research plan indicates where and who your customers are. It will also tell you when they are most likely and willing to purchase your goods or use your services."
Here are a few areas in which we’ve helped Oak Tree Operations clients conduct some simple research:
Survey your current clients. Find out what they think about your company and why they have chosen to work with you. Are they satisfied? Pretty straightforward and guaranteed to enlighten you.
Interview your past clients. Why did they stop working with you? Would they work with you again? Again, guaranteed to provide good info.
Contact potential clients. In your space, who do they consider the “players?” What impressions do they have about you and your competitors?
We’ve also produced market overviews, where we’ll dig deep online and create a summary of each competitor’s offerings, approximate size, number of employees, client lists and more.
Are you considering entering a new market or adding services? If so, consider getting some questions answered before you take the leap. Spend a little time up front to potentially save yourself time and heartache later.
Need a hand? Feel free to give us a call to discuss your project!