Becoming a Spy for Your Business
I love James Bond. It is one of the greatest spy franchises EVER! Frankly, all the James Bonds actors are handsome, but when it comes down to it, part of James Bond's success is about a few skills he has. Those skills revolve around his reconnaissance abilities, which always helps his strategy. Whether it is getting an asset or understanding his enemies, James Bond always uses the same skills.
In the Art of War By Suz Tzu – He says – "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."
When starting or running a business, it is essential to conduct market research regularly. That means once a year. Market Research is vital because it identifies what is happening in your industry, what is expected to happen, and why. Market research can vary in scale and approach. There exist industry reports that you can find at your local library or via surveys you conduct with your customers. You want to do this type of reconnaissance because running your business's day-to-day operations will limit your view of your niche demographic and location, making you susceptible to missing the nuances of your product or service offerings that your customer base may expect. Market research is a timely endeavor, but the investment in time can set you up for success for years. It will also let you know what your competitors are doing as well. Here are a few places and strategies to attain or run your market research.
1) The library – Most public libraries have databases that will provide industry-specific information. Typically, this information can run between a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars without the library. Access to the library databases is usually free with a library card.
2) Depending on your industry, you may find a college or university specializing in your field that may be conducting or have conducted studies on your industry or customer base.
3) You can initiate your research through basic surveys. These surveys should be anonymous and include the most important questions first. That way if a participant doesn't finish the survey, you have the most vital information completed.