Market research helps with packaging and marketing your services
Market research is essential to business success because it helps you provide your services the way that people want them. When you know what is happening in the market you can position your business strategically to capture the business but most importantly when a potential customer calls you’ll be able to speak with them calmly and confidently about what is included in your services and how much you charge for them.
You must understand:
- The market for the industry you are in
- Who the major competitors are
- How competitors offer their products and services
- Changes have happened recently in competitors as well as in the industry
- Trends that are impacting on your product or service
- Other major participants like technology companies, overseas companies, industry bodies or Government?
- Why someone should buy from you
Think of market research as the information that helps you formulate the combination of services, products and offers for your business. Without it, you may have a short spurt of success but find that potential clients don’t use your services. You may get lots of enquiries but find that very few of them convert to become customers.
Market research will teach you what is new in your industry, how competitors are currently packaging their products and services as well as how they are promoting them. Many new businesses start off emulating a successful business they admire and then putting their own personality into the business.
This section of your plan is where you identify the opportunity and PROVE that there is a REAL business.
Product, Price, Place & Promotion
These terms combined are often referred to as the 4P’s of marketing and they relate to getting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time. The need for a businesses services varies greatly and one of your goals here is to understand the market cycles, when your services are required and how to promote them to your ideal clients.
Here are some examples:
Christmas is a major sales opportunity, as are other holidays like Easter and then there are birthdays which are more scattered throughout the year. You can have a marketing strategy to get to customers in each of these occasions.
Lawn mowing and Maintenance
Spring to Christmas is when the lawn and plants start to grow after the winter so people notice it and need to have some work done, particularly getting close to Christmas when all their friends and family will be coming to visit. January is when most people are away but when they come back their is still a need going into Autumn but the quiet time for plant care is Winter, when the business would need to focus on other services.
The stress times for bookkeeping businesses is at compliant and lodgement deadlines like at payroll time, end of month, quarterly BAS and of course end of financial year. The services offered can start from the low cost service of data entry, which is reasonably spread throughout the year for most companies, to higher level skills like credit management and Debtor/Credit Management to the highest level for BAS Agents for Payroll and BAS activities. Each of these services could be priced differently or combined into a flat or consistent monthly fee.
Website Design, SEO and Digital Marketing
A significant stages here is setup where most businesses seem to think they can solve this problem in one go but over time other needs can be to tweak the website to include images (perhaps from an Instagram feed) or to incorporate micro posts from other social media mediums like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google +. The best monetisation model for website designers who have a good writer in their back pocket is to offer SEO and Blog writing for a monthly fee as this may help a business reduce the monthly cost of advertising.
You must also prove that you have the skills, knowledge and attitude to meet the identified business opportunity, and that there is a growth potential for the business. At this research stage you may realise that you need some other people on your team – they may be employees or they may be contractors to fill a niche gap. If you start your marketing and promotion without these resources you may be bogged down in supporting or servicing your clients.
Software & Systems Resources
Software can automate and help you manage many aspects of launching, growing and managing your business, including:
- WordPress to build a professional website and blog (news and updates)
- Social Media profiles to connect with your existing or new potentials clients
- Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks to help you manage quotes, orders, invoices, financial reporting
- Microsoft Office to manage projects and document procedures
- MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or Aweber to automate your email marketing (or FeedBurner, the free one)
Legal Risks of Your Market
Well documented research will prove a business concept and along with proof of capability of owner will provide grounds for funding. Learn about the laws of the market place, check out the laws related to your industry, fit your product or service to the needs of a target group. You may find that to be a buyer agent and help people invest in real estate you need to do a Real Estate Course, Registered with your state to get a Licence and then get insurance to cover any gaps that you may miss or not explain properly. More of this is covered in the Legal & Risk Management Course.
Learn How to Research
Learning how to research is a skill in itself so once we go through some research fundamentals you’ll then finding out what is really happening in the market place. Documenting your research is how you prove your competency in this module. Market research will validate your idea and strategy and provide you with clarity and vision – it’s also very powerful information when you are looking for investors or business partners.
If you choose a Mentor Supported Marketing Strategy Program with Australian Small Business Centre you’ll write a detailed report and have someone work with you to