Growing Your Business through Continuous Market Research
Frankly, everyone starting out in business understands the need for market research. But, when it comes to taking the growth curve in business, almost no one thinks about market research anymore.
At this point, it’s easy to overlook the need for market research. After all, the market research done at the beginning of the business should be enough to take the business throughout its lifetime. That’s the school of thought for a lot of business owners.
If you are in that school of thought, I’m about to burst your bubble.
Let’s take life for instance.
There are different stages in life. For each stage, there are expectations. Each stage comes with unique challenges.
As you progress in life, your desires and needs evolve. So, to cope with each stage, you need to find out what that stage requires. You need to know the demands each stage places on you. If you don’t figure it out, you see yourself running in circles.
It’s the same way with your business. Every business has the potential for growth. This growth isn’t abrupt, for the most part.
There are stages of growth that your business is bound to go through. For every stage, you need to know what your market demands. You need to position yourself to serve your ideal clients even better, as you grow.
So you see, market research is not exclusive to startups. Every business needs to carry out market research at every stage of a business.
Framing this in context, you can call it “Continuous Market Research (CMR)”.
At startup, the market research you do helps you get customers through the door as soon as possible.
The more your business exists and grows, the more they need you to solve your market changes. Market research at strategic stages in your business ensures the continuous inflow of clients. It makes sure that your sales are also growing with your business.
Continuous Market Research in Perspective
Let me say that continuous market research is only relevant for businesses that are on a growth curve.
Also, if you’ve been at a particular point for a long time in business, you need to conduct a CMR. This can give you a great boost to the next level of your business.
CMR is about maintaining an open communication channel with your target market. This helps you stay abreast of changes in the opinions, needs, desires, and behaviors of your ideal clients.
It provides you with regular, ongoing data, information, and insights on your market. Unlike the initial market research, the data you get is real-time data that help you position your business to serve your market better.
For a business that desires to grow, following the changing needs of your market and providing services that meet them is a given. So you need to know what your market needs in real-time. This is only possible with continuous market research.
Why is Continuous Market Research Important?
Up till this point, I’ve scratched the surface on the importance of continuous market research. Let me break it down so you can see it clearly.
It’s Easier to Spot New Business Opportunities
Even if you have a unique product or service you’re selling, there are related needs that you can venture into. These are opportunities for you to expand and grow your business.
The truth is that increasing your offer probably increases your sales too. It isn’t a bad idea to spread your tentacles to other business opportunities.
But it’s important you remember that you can’t just delve into the next opportunity that knocks on your door. That’s where continuous market research comes in. It makes you see new opportunities related to your particular business.
For instance, you’re a realtor.
You have established authority in helping people get good homes and properties. As a matter of fact, when people are looking for a realtor, your name is top on the list.
As you grow in that business, you need to follow the trends in your market. If you do continuous market research, you may discover some other related things your ideal clients are interested in.
One of the things you’re likely to find out is that your ideal clients also need a way to access insurance policies that serves their particular need. Boy, that’s a new business opportunity calling.
So, in addition to being a realtor, you can delve into insurance brokerage. If your ideal clients trust you to help them get a good home, they can trust you to get them a favorable insurance policy.
This is applicable to any business – coaching, consulting, professional services, entrepreneurs, etc.
There are viable opportunities to grow your business. And these opportunities don’t have to take you away from your market. They are complementary businesses that help you provide additional value to your ideal customers. This is possible with continuous market research.
Reduces the Risk of Business Crash
One of the things that crash a growing business is getting into new ventures without proper insight. The fact that you successfully started a business is no guarantee that it will either grow or survive. It gets worse if you rely on your startup research.
According to the Small Business Association, 30% of new businesses fail in the first two years, 50% in the first five years and 66% in the first 10 years.
The reason for this is not far-fetched. When sales are not enough to sustain the business, there’s bound to be a crash.
Businesses who have survived and grown for many years have one thing in common – continuous market research. They are always in tune with market demands. They use available data to even forecast market trends and get ahead of the consumer.
Take Microsoft for instance.
They have survived all these years and they are still growing. From the first release of Windows 1 in 1985 to date, they have constantly improved their offerings.
The launch of every Windows OS was always a back to back hit. This is because of continuous market research that shows them the real-time needs of their customers.
If you always give your market what it needs, you remain relevant. Any business that is consistent with value delivery stands the test of time.
So if you want to grow and remain relevant in your market, always carry out market research at some strategic stages of your business.
It Stands You Out From the Competition
Competition is one aspect of running a business you can’t escape. No matter how unique your offer is, there’s someone trying to outsell you in your market.
You may have a unique offer, but you aren’t alone in your market. The clients you’re trying to woo to your business are also being chased by the competition. To win their love, you need to give them what they need the way they need it.
Continuous market research helps you stand out from the competition. This is because you know what they need at any particular time. You’re in tune with changes in the interest of your ideal clients. You are unrelenting in providing the exact value they need at any time.
Part of what you do during continuous market research is to look for loopholes in what the competition offer. Check the kind of reviews they are getting and identify what they aren’t doing right. If you’re able to satisfy a competition’s dissatisfied customer, you’ve won one over them.
Trust me, you can’t ignore the competition if you want to survive the red ocean of business. This doesn’t mean you live in the shadow of the competition.
Have a unique value that you bring to the table. In addition to that, find out what the competition is missing and incorporate it into your business. Also, if your competition is excelling at something, try to do it better – provided it’s in line with your unique service.
Helps You Make Better Decisions For Business Growth
One of the crucial aspects of being a business owner is decision making. The decisions you make in your business determines the fate of the business. If you make the wrong decisions, your business will suffer for it.
In fact, one bad decision can lead to the death of your business.
Continuous Market Research is important for decision making. With the data and information available to you, you can make informed and insightful decisions for your business. It helps you eliminate assumptions and guesswork. You have facts that guide you to make the right decisions for your business.
Granted, not all decisions require market research data to make. However, the following decisions must be made based on insights from market research:
1. Where to spend your marketing budget
This is one decision you can’t make without concrete insight. If you do, you might end up flushing thousands of dollars down the drain. That alone can wreck your business beyond repair.
It is your market research that shows you what marketing strategy works for your business at any point in time. If you have to retain or change your strategy, you know for sure.
2. What improvements to do on your products or services
As good as improvements are, if they are not done with proper insights, it could take a bad toll on your business.
It’s possible to make an improvement that turns off your ideal clients. The end result is the outflow of existing customers and the draught of new clients.
So improvements should be tailored to the exact need of your market at the time. That’s why you need CMR to make such decisions.
3. The Ideal price point for your products or services
No matter how you look at it, your pricing affects your sales. If you set the wrong price for your product or service, you end up attracting the wrong clients to your business.
There’s nothing as devastating as having the wrong clients come through the door. Set your price in such a way that it reflects the kind of clients you need in your business.
It’s great to set premium prices. However, let it be a decision made from available data.
These three decisions determine the growth or decline of your business. So any decision you have to make as touching them must be insightful and informed.
Ready For Growth?
I’m sure you are.
Now you now know how important it is to see market research as a continuous process. It’s not wise to always fall back to data from start-up. Always update yourself with the needs of your market.
It doesn’t have to be a herculean task. You only need to get data from two sources; your target customers and your competition. Up to date information on the changes in your market will help you scale your business.
This article is written by our guest author Kennedy Cee. He is a Master Business Coach and the founder & CEO of ClientsValley. He makes it effortless and exciting for coaches, consultants and service professionals to attract perfect new clients. He's helped coaches, thought-leaders and service providers all over the world take their businesses from struggling to 5 and 6-figures per month while serving the world with complete integrity and authenticity.