Business Research Demystified … And Why You Need It! (Part 1)

by Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta

One of the keys to starting a business or writing your business plan is Research. More important than this is conducting the right type of research.  I don’t know about you, but usually the word ‘research’ can evoke all types of emotions, which does not often include excitement.

But that need not be the case, even if it were, we need still need to do it. Think of research as a means to gain knowledge, get ahead, be relevant or establish facts, and business research being to gain the required business knowledge and facts for the purpose of establishing a more concrete foundation to develop your business and give you an edge in the market and over your competitors. When you look closely at businesses that have failed some of the contributing factors could have been eliminated had they taken the time to do some research and gather valuable information on their target customers, about the market, supplier and competitors.

On speaking with many ‘entrepreneurs’ or business owners, I find some of them disregard the process of undertaking any form of research. Often a times, they feel they have all the information they need based on their immediate experience. However, what research allows you to do is broaden your knowledge of what your customers want; know how to price and position your products and services; know what your competitors are doing so as to compete strategically; and understand market and industry trends to ensure your products or services are relevant etc.

Simple forms of undertaking research include asking your trusted network and potential type target customers about the feasibility of your business idea, products or service; and looking at similar businesses to yours and what products or services they provide and prices they charge. Simple as it may sound, these still constitute research.

Whether starting a business or looking to grow your business, I want to challenge you to step up your game, and approach your research in a more structured manner in order to gain better insight and results.

Though some businesses have started out successfully without any research, a time comes when they have to pause and research to maintain their strategic advantage or they become irrelevant.

Look out for Part 2 on the types of research that apply to new businesses or existing businesses.