The following is a guest post from Dan Bobinski, CEO and Director of The Center for Workplace Excellence. It was originally published on their site, and reused here with permission. Dan took me up on the offer when I posed the question Have You Got Something to Say? The offer still stands, if others feel like contributing as well.
When was the last time you conducted market research? I mean REALLY analyzed who buys your products and how much they spend? The information you get from such an exercise is invaluable, yet far too many business owners and sales professionals neglect this activity, because it’s not “urgent.”
This past Friday I spoke to a group of restaurant and vending machine owners about re-inventing themselves in the new economy. Out of the 12 tips that I gave them, the very first one was to create a spreadsheet to identify what products were selling the most, when were they selling well, and who was buying them. You can analyze a lot more than that, but those are the basics.
Many people perceive the process as an academic exercise, and if they just sift through the info, that’s about right. To get the valuable golden nuggets, you have to dig deep into the info, ask a lot of who/what/when/why/how questions, and look for trends. You also have to consider what trends are happening in the market, as well as where your biggest profits are.
I’ve done this with my own business several times and each time the knowledge I gained was more valuable than I could have imagined.
No, it’s not urgent, but it’s SO important. The time you invest will pay itself back many times over.
Have you done this lately? If not, why not do it soon? Everything is changing, and complacency is death to any business. The common saying is that a little market research goes a long way. If that’s too cliché for you, think of it in practical terms: A few adjustments in the right places can make a huge impact on your income.