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To Research or Not To Research?

Should this even be a question?

by Lorena  |  3500 views  |  7 comments  |        Rate this now! 

This question came up in some conversations: Do you do any research before launching your business (and if so, how much), or do you dive directly into it, without any research?

Ladies, by now you know my obsession with smart marketing, so here is my predictable two cents: Always, always, always do the right research. It doesn't have to be paid, but it has to be truth!

Start with your consumer, continue with your competitors, and end with your consumers.

If this new business might be your future, why treat it as dog food?

So, make it an obsession (not the bad kind!) and approach it with curiousity, genuine interest, and passion: Start look at blogs, websites, talk to people around you, ask your friends, get a mentor, dig into what your competitors are doing, build scenarios (what could happen if?), but never, ever, ever jump on something (if your future is at stake and even if it's not) without knowing if this idea is an AHA or not.

In spite of the conventional wisdom, the number of people who fail soon after opening a business is considerably high, and part of the reason is that their  businesses are not answering any real needs, besides the need the owner had (ha!) -- to make money.

As we all know (as consumers), this is not a reason good for a small business owner to succeed. If this were a reason good enough to achieve success, we would all be bloody rich!

So, don't ask yourself if you should do reasearch, but how much research you should do and when? That's another story I'll write about soon.

In the meantime, allow me to uncover for you some numbers to get you in the right mindset for this: In 2006, 649,700 new firms opened their doors. In the same year, 564,900 firms closed their doors and 19,695 went bankrupt. Brutal! After four years from opening, 56 percent of the firms dissappear (not as in Twin Peaks, the movie, but as in "this business is just not making any money" -- the reality). Scary but also very educational!

So, start right, start smart.

About the Author

Lorena is a VP Director of Marketing who calls herself a marketing communications addict with an entrepreneurial mindset and a desire to relentlessly learn and do great things.

Read more by Lorena

7 comments so far...

  • I agree with you. If I were to ever start my own business after I get all of my training hours in for my Marriage and Family degree, I would definitely want to research things before I started. I do not have the money to fail.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jacqueline on 14th July 2008

  • I couldn't agree with you more. But then again this is what I do for a living... I conduct market research and write professional docs for small business owners, particularly start-ups. "Do your homework" is my own mini motto. Sure, plenty of people poo-poo doing research or crafting a business plan and some survive, but if you're launching a new businesses, your chances of success significantly increase when you spend your time and money upfront to research and plan. Intimately knowing your industry, competitors, market, customers, etc. is not optional in this case. BTW - the statistics I found claim that 80-90% of all new products/services on the market disappear within 2 years. Because no one found them of value. !!!

    Be smart. Do your homework.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christine Janssen on 13th July 2008

  • It's like we say in education: Do your homework. :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 30th June 2008

  • I'm not and I've never been a big fan of extreme research )all the time, for any little thing), but I'm a bit fan of being in-the-know. Knowledge comes from understanding your surroundings and the marketplace. Not every decision has to have a research reference to back it up with (like in pharmaceutical communications), but the core ideas and strategies must be grounded in realities.
    Anne Florenzano gives a great examples of how to apply research.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lorena on 30th June 2008

  • Great commentary and I agree with Lisa. Planning should continue throughout your business. However, I do have some clients that plan too much. They get into analysis paralysis. A balance, as with most things, helps you be the most successful.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 27th June 2008

  • I agree totally! I've already saved myself time and money by doing research with local retailers. I found out that my original idea probably would NOT sell well, so I've adapted. I'll be doing more user feedback after the design phase is over to find out just what idea resonates. Research is invaluable, and adjusting to what you find out along the way is key!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Anne Florenzano on 27th June 2008

  • Great advice, although, if after you've done the research, and found your niche, plan, plan, and more plans are necessary...........:)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lisa Newton on 27th June 2008