Do you have a clear forecast for the next two quarters for your business? Do you know how to create one? Two words- market research.
Nimbleness, success and responsiveness is surely the be all an end all when it comes to business. So, being able to sustain your successes comes from having a sharp and up-to-date insight into your market forces outside of your business. Reliable and consistent tracking of your industry is the number one way to be able to read and respond to the market to continue your sustainable growth. BUT… and there is always a BUT, market research is often one of those things that tends to fall off your priority list along the way as you get busy with the day to day operations of your business, BUT again with the BUT market reviews should not be a set and forget task.
Market research doesn’t have to be overwhelming, extensive and difficult. Undertaking even the bare minimum of a review process will allow you to create a clear roadmap across the year, quarter and months ahead for your business.
These insights and understandings that come from your market research enable you to confidently price your services and products and promote them appropriately and effectively to your various market segments and customers. It can help you decide if you can create new services and revenue streams and put less performing ones on the back burner. You can uncover new opportunities and test new ideas- all the fun stuff that puts the stupefying “business on usual” on ice.
Key metrics to keep an eye on are the relevant economic and demographic factors that are likely to have an impact on your product and service sales. Basically, you want to know about any changes to regulations or changes in attitudes to your services and products, such as size, trends, beliefs and competitor marketing, as well as overall economic forecasts. Head to your industry association for white papers, industry news and blog posts for information that will tell you things you need to know for your business and, of course, the other essential stockpile of trends and insights are your existing and former clients and customers. You can easily access their views simply by asking them - send an annual satisfaction survey to both the people they’ve worked with over the previous eighteen months, as well as your general audience via your mailing list and social media platforms -ask no more than five questions and use it as an opportunity to gauge interest in potential services and as a way to retire others. The simple act of seeking views in this manner will become an effective marketing strategy by accident - people like being asked their opinion and, in an extremely competitive market, your business will remains front of mind when your clients need the services you provide.