Business research has become a cornerstone of business in the 21st century. It’s the only way that businesses can understand their industry to the level needed to compete. Research is used to plan and strategize. The problem is that so many small businesses either ignore research or they do it wrong. We’re going to take a look at the most common business research mistakes.
Limiting Research to Web Only
The internet has opened a floodgate of information and data to the public. But what happens is that, so many small business owners limit their research to Google, rather than using every option available to them. Search engines should be used to conduct secondary research. You should develop deeper online research methods like surveys and use social media to directly interact with the market. Furthermore, visit your local library to find information at no cost.
Crashing into a Wall
All sizable research projects are going to reach a point where it feels like you’ve hit a brick wall. You’re going to lose motivation and your enthusiasm is at its lowest. That’s because as you progress with research, it grows more complex. Many small business owners crash into this wall and just stop altogether. In order to avoid this scenario, create an overall plan for your research so that you have a reference point when you lose motivation.
Relying on Friends/Family-Oriented Focus Groups
Relying on friends and family to provide feedback is one of the most common mistakes that small business owners make. The problem is that your friends and family are going to try protecting your feelings, so they will tell you what they think you want to hear. As an entrepreneur, you need the truth. Use real customers to conduct research about your products or services. Never rely on friends or family to provide useful feedback.
Market research does not require a large budget. Small business owners need to be smart about where they spend their money since their funds are limited. One mistake that so many people make is they overspend on research so much that there’s no money left for marketing. You should set a business research budget in the beginning and make sure that you do not go over it.
I’ve seen so many small business owners go out and try to research before they fully understand their business. The first step should always be to define your business. What are the specific needs of your customers? Who is my ideal customer? What problem can I solve? Those are the first questions that you must answer.
Ignoring the Competition
Small business owners must gather as much information about their competition as possible in order to offer something unique. You need to understand exactly what the competition is offering – price, products, and services. Then find something that they do not offer and build your market around that small niche. The only way to achieve this is by researching the competition.
Not Creating Enough Research Tools
Just creating a single survey or handing out a questionnaire is not enough. You have to be sure that you’re getting the right information from every research method at your disposal. Take the time to create quality business research tools. Make sure that you’re asking the right questions.
Ignoring Business Research
This is probably the biggest mistake that small business owners make and it’s the reason that 90% of new businesses fail. They are not willing to invest in research. They try to grow their business blind, so they are basing their entire model on luck. They might as well gamble their money at a casino.
Have you made any of these mistakes with your business? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.