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Five C's of Market Research

By Rozey Gean

Concept, Criticism, Competition, Credibility, Common Interest

1. Concept Every business venture starts with an idea. but, without a good concept - no matter how passionate you are -- odds are your business will fail.

Benefit the Customer
Your concept should fill a void in the marketplace, if it doesn't - find one that does!

A business does not run solely on money, it runs on passion.

Be Passionate
You should enjoy your concept and be excited enough to relay your feelings to your market. After all, how can a consumer get hyped about your product or service if you aren't?

You can survive in business without a large bank account - but unless your passionate about your business, no amount of money will make it sell.

Re-invention
Your concept doesn't need to be a freshly thought idea - but could be an improvement to an existing market. There are all kinds of new businesses that have tried and failed. Perhaps, you could improve something about them and bring them back into the market as " a new and improved" product or service?

Improvement could be as simple as:
* Better service and quality
* A new method of delivery
* Improved technology, etc.


No matter how good an existing idea is - There is always a better way to do it!

Example: The tissue was first offered to the market as the new "face towel." Sales lagged for many years, and it wasn't until it was reintroduced into the marketplace as a "throw-a-way" handkerchief did it become successful. Their new slogan, "don't put a cold in your pocket," helped an old idea get new success.

2. Criticism
be prepared to accept all criticism. It will help you to improve your concept. Because you are concerned about running your business on minimal dollars, the less expensive criticism will come from friends, relatives, and neighbors. It's far better to receive FREE criticism - than to pay for marketing research that puts a dent in your bank account, but doesn't yield any useful results.

Be prepared to get LOTS of criticism and to put it to good use. Perhaps, a survey in your intended market - could provide some valuable information to be used in making your product better.

Ask questions like: Is there a need? Would YOU buy it? What price would you expect to pay for it? Is there a better way to provide it?

Remembering what we stated above, (there's always a better way to provide a concept) - your received criticism should be used to enhance the product or service before you release it to your market. This step will save you time and money.

3. Competition
check out how they are providing to their market. There's no doubt in my mind, the expert in the field gets more business. Create a niche in your market and zero in on an idea that has potential for growth.

It's important to remember - don't try to be good at everything - just be good at something! People will remember you for it.

If you are offering a product which is in competition from an existing business, be prepared to handle your business so it answers the following questions:
* What makes my company different from my competition?
* Why would my market be better off doing business with me?
* What can I give to my market to insure a more pleasurable
experience by doing business with me over my competition?
* Does my product or service exceed the expectations of my market?

If you can't answer the above points - and KNOW what makes your product more unique than the competition, you won't be able to relay that to your market.

Refine your marketing

Define the needs of your market by listening to the customers and understanding what their needs are. Does your product fill that need? Is there something more you could do, to make it more attractive to your market? Is your product a solution to a problem in your market? How will you handle customer service complaints? What are you guarantees to your customers?

An Interesting Fact:

Most companies fail to realize, 80% of future company sales will depend on repeat orders and referrals from satisfied customers. Your satisfied customers are the best and cheapest source of advertising; bringing additional business through referrals. Exceed your customers expectations and they'll be back and will refer you to others. Remember, those that have been referred to you, have been presold on your products.

4. Credibility

(Gaining the edge) - Community involvement. People like to buy from friends. The more involved you become with your community, the more friends you will make.

I'm not talking about joining the local YMCA just to make business contacts either. You need to be "sincere" in your approach and willing to work hard for the community you live in. Hard work and perseverance will eventually pay off as members of the community will remember you by your deeds and eventually will refer you to others that need your services.

If you don't the available time to offer your community, there are other ways you could provide them with your services.

Such as:
* Local charities need something of value to give out as gifts. Perhaps, you could provide T-shirts for the winners?
* Provide special discount cards to other businesses in your communities.
* Talking at a local school or college regarding your business.
* Sponsor a local event where your community would benefit.


5. Common Interests

(Networking) - is a necessity to learn. By networking with other business owners, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. You will learn new ideas to do business and meet other experienced business owners who can help you exceed in your market.

Some ways to network:
* Local Chamber of Commerce
* Rotary Clubs
* Lions Clubs
* Volunteering Organizations such as: American Cancer Society, ADL, Unicef, American Red Cross, Turning Point, etc.
* Business Owners on the WWW - form an online discussion group or chat network where you can share additional information regarding business.


It's better explained as "a small community" made up of business owners, willing to help one another to gain valuable information to be utilized in their market.

Networking individuals are glad to help those in their group.

You can join any association and in return, receive valuable leads who will tell others about your business. You could create a database of the business owners you have exchanged business cards with, and call them in the future to do business or to find additional information regarding a need.

If you can't find a suitable networking group to help you - you could start your own Networking Community - made up of the small businesses located within a 30 mile radius of your own business.
5.1. Perhaps, delegating a printed roster to each business, showing them others in their Networking Community that are available to receive phone calls from another member.
5.2. Or possibly, your networking community could agree to do business with each other? If there is a printer in the group - all the rest in that community would utilize the printing services.
5.3. Is there an accounting person in your community? Perhaps, this accounting firm would get all the tax business from the rest of the community members?

THINK.... there are plenty of ways you could gain exposure for your business. Most ideas, are common sense methods where an individual takes the initiative to get it started! The best part of networking - it's FREE advertising for your business and for you.

Summary:
* You can turn any idea into a profitable, home-based business. Most larger companies have started their businesses from their living room floors, their basements or their garages. You have the same ability to create a world-wide market, needing your products.
* If you have an Entrepreneurial spirit, you'll find a way to offer the public something you feel would benefit them.
* It doesn't necessarily have to be a "new invention" or a new idea. You could take something on the market today, and make it better.
* To be successful, your business should exceed your customers' expectations.

* To increase your credibility, you should become more involved with your community.
* Networking is free - and could provide the most valuable exposure for you and your company.

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Rozey Gean, founder of the Women Entrepreneurs Online Network, (WEON), is a thirteen year veteran to entrepreneurship. Her expertise includes mentoring women in business and sharing her vast knowledge through written works. These works can be read in her popular weekly WEON newsletter and other publications such as Free Electronic Networks and most recently Web Bound Magazine. Subscribe to the WEON Business News at mailto:subscribe@weon.net or visit her ever-changing web site at http://www.weon.com

Copyright 1998, Rozey Gean, All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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Tags: Sales and Marketing


 

 

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