Building a small business culture of research can be very rewarding.
Editor’s note: This is part two of an research series. Part one entitled Why It’s Important to Build Consumer Research Into Your Small Business Strategy covered Gleaning consumer feedback and competitive information to track results and grow your small business.
As you become more aware of the value of research through keeping track of your inventory, your sales, comments from your customers and employees, etc., you will find yourself wanting more.
Even with a very limited budget this thirst can still be quenched.
There are mountains of syndicated research available for purchase and download.
This would obviously not be tailored to your precise situation, but still, no matter what business you are in, you should be able to find syndicated data about the issues you face. This is what the internet is for.
There are many research and consulting companies that offer these pre-packaged research products, and there may be names you recognize and some you don’t. Rather than rely on name recognition, I would recommend you seek out information that is the most directly relevant to your industry, your region, your particular questions, etc.
You might want to reach out to friends in the industry to ask about which sources they might have used in the past to see how they rated the value of a particular report.
These syndicated reports will vary by price and depth, but I would recommend you start with those that focus on trends and analysis rather than those that drown you in data.
You might eventually be ready for that, but you won’t start there.
I would recommend that you ask around and look up various industry groups.
Some are non-profits who are funded by memberships, and some are for-profit entities funded by their pricey events and sponsors. It is not unreasonable to be wary of the for-profits, but they often throw together the best events, conferences and webinars.
They can be very helpful in connecting you to others in your industry, to learn about best practices and they sometimes commission research you get when you join or pay to go to one of their conventions.
Still, the gold standard for any category is the non-profit that serves your industry.
These are the guys who might have governmental affairs teams that defend your interests in state houses and congress. They also will regularly host webinars, networking opportunities, and they often commission research that is available to all members.
Next page- It’s a win-win. and Getting involved.