The beginning of a new year always makes one think about new strategies for attacking business challenges. You look at your business plans. You check the revenue and profit from last year and think about how you want to improve this year. You look at what services you offer and which ones are profitable, which ones aren’t and which ones you want to add. You think about the business. A lot.
While the options on how to continue growing your business are endless, there is one thing that remains constant: the need to keep up with market insight so you can make sound business decisions.
Market research isn’t something you do only once when you start your business. Since business conditions continually change, your market research should also be continuous. The main reason why? You run the risk of making business decisions based on out-of-date information, which can lead to business setbacks and, ultimately, business failure.
To put it another way, as you succeed, your competitors take note, reacting to what you’re doing. So a market-leading service or offer you shared with customers one day may be no better than average by the following year. And, unfortunately, customers can be quick to find alternative service providers who provide better deals if they don’t see any other reason to stay with you.
Also, as services progress, sales growth and profit margins can shrink. Understanding where your services are in their lifecycles can you help determine how to maximize profitability. At the same time, being innovative with new service offerings can help you build a stream of fresh, profitable options.
Improve your market research by:
- Regularly reading information on market conditions and trends.
- Talking to key customers on a regular basis so you have a consistently updated, in-depth picture of their wants, how they behave and their preferred sales and marketing approaches.
- Talking to suppliers and other business partners often to gather their market intelligence.
- Talking to your employees regularly about their insights into your customers.
- Testing customers’ reactions to new services by seeing how they would be received before offering them in your market.
In 2016, your business is only as strong as your market intelligence. Get smart.