Research to Stay Ahead of The Game

by Redeeming Riches on June 14, 2013

Most people who go into the world of small business rely on solid research to determine their success. Reliable information about potential investors, competitors, partners and suppliers can make the difference between a well-executed strategy based on intelligence and a perilous, luck-reliant path. Here are three essential areas where company directors can focus their research efforts.

Securing funding and investment

Even before the first product or service is sold, small businesses often depend on relevant, considered research to identify and secure investors and funding partners. These start-up and operating funds are obviously a huge part of getting a fledgling company off the ground, and investigating where to find those essential grants and loans can give you a welcome leg-up. Governmental resources, angel investors and business loan companies can all be found on the web, as well as more recent schemes such as crowd-funding.

Scouting the competition

Competition is another important research target. You must know which companies are offering similar products and services, as well as the scope, nature and satisfaction levels of their customers. Research is essential to determine who’s already doing what and then working out how you could do it better or more cost effectively. Analyse other businesses through database checks and use social media to find out how a company is perceived by its consumers.

Knowing your supplier partners

Good financial and competitive research is fundamental, but knowing the quality of your suppliers is equally vital. No matter where you meet your potential suppliers and vendors, get to know their background and perform credit checks via the web. This is about knowing the company and the people behind it before you sign deals and put your operation’s reputation and financial health on the line. It’s also useful to research potential partners in the social media arena, and don’t be afraid to talk to people who’ve worked with them in the past. You need to know your goals and approach to business are compatible in order to work together.

Competitive intelligence is an on-going process and shouldn’t stop even as your company experiences success. Continually review your data to find out your own strengths and weaknesses. Comparing your business to other models means you stand more of a chance of staying ahead in the long-term, from anticipating market changes to gathering intelligence on that new company in your field.

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