If you have been in business for a while, you probably understand that it isn’t enough to have a few (or many) clients. You need to cultivate relationships with and continue to grow within the relationships with your clients constantly.
As a business owner, you must constantly strive to grow your business and to consistently think about how to improve upon what you have already accomplished with your business. You can’t afford to remain stagnant. If you aren’t growing in business, you are dying.
The value of market research
Many business owners aren’t aware that market research is an excellent way to grow your business in a relatively inexpensive manner. The concept doesn’t only apply to large businesses. If you own a small business, the results can be just as favorable. If you assume that market research is not readily available for your small company, you are totally wrong about that. If you are going to leverage market research most effectively for your business, it is important for you to understand what is true and what is false about market research. You can’t go along assuming that everything that you have come to understand about market research is exactly as you thought it to be.
There are many myths that will be discussed here, which give you a clear understanding of how to grow your business most effectively.
Market research is only effective for large companies
Market research is just as available to small businesses as it is to big corporations. That applies to small businesses in their infancies as much as small businesses that have been around the block. One thing that is definitely true is that as a business owner, you have to best chance of success if you truly understand how to use market research to achieve greater business success.
You will have to spend a fortune on market research
This is not necessarily true. In fact, there are many different ways online to do market research that will enable you to expand your customer base and maintain your edge so that you beat out your competition. It is important to remember that if you do the market research properly, you will be able to save money by avoiding having to spend money on products and/or services that are not right for your business.
Market research will use up a lot of your time
It is up to you to invest as much or as little time as you wish. No matter what, the results of your market research will be valuable to you. The market research is very valuable because it doesn’t make sense for you to sell something to your clients that they won’t want to buy. It is a waste of time and energy for you and for your clients.
You have no idea what you are doing
You may very well think that you don’t know how to conduct market research when, in fact, you know more than you think. When you interact with a client and you are discussing your products and/or services, you are conducting market research. Now, you just need to think in broader terms.
Now that you understand the realities of market research, you can start to conduct the research that will enable you to bring your business to the next level. Technology enables you to do research in a quick, easy and thorough manner and you will be surprised at how successful your results will be. When you start to search, you need to choose appropriate keywords that will bring up really great-quality results. Those results will let you know if the direction that you want to take your business is on target or if you need to adjust your search and your concepts to achieve more successful results. Not only will you gain valuable information about your business but you will also gain valuable information about your competitors.
Using a survey as a tool
An online survey
When it comes to creating a survey, the first thing that you need to establish is what information you want to get from the survey. Are you looking to improve the products and services that you are currently offering? If you are interested in learning how to improve what you have, use the survey to give you valuable insight. The people who respond to your survey will be willing to give you valuable information. You should definitely take it to heart.
When you are developing your survey, there are a few principles that you should follow.
- Short and simple: Make sure that you don’t put too many questions in your survey. You should figure that the survey shouldn’t take any longer than five minutes. People get impatient quickly if you make them do too much.
- Give a proper introduction: When you are giving people the survey, explain why you are asking those particular questions. If they understand why you want the information, they will probably be happy to give you responses to your questions.
- Give them a way out: On your survey, you need to put “don’t know” or “not applicable” in case they don’t feel comfortable answering a particular question.
It is critical that you have a deep understanding of your clients and a great way to strengthen those relationships is by determining exactly what they want. If you don’t understand what they want, you can’t give it to them. Plunge into your market research and uncover what your clients want make sure that you give it to them if you can. If you can manage to have continual interactions and really listen to what your clients want, you will have an edge. If you are able to identify what your clients need and want before they actually ask you for anything, you will definitely make a lasting impression.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).