Every good business plan has a SWOT analysis, a honest evaluation of the company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Without an evaluation of these elements of your business, whether it is a new business or one that has been around for several years, the plan is really not complete.
While developing or revising a company’s SWOT analysis, a complete look of the competition is necessary. By preforming competitive shops you can make sure that you are taking into account the companies that are trying to take your customers and your sales. Now, I have blogged before about competitive shops before (take a look here and here), and I have specifically mentioned developing a in-depth SWOT analysis. However, you cannot have one without the other.
Continue reading “Evaluating Your SWOT Through Competitive Shops” »
Later this week, I will be teaching a class at Wake Tech Community College about finding job opportunities with start-ups and early stage companies. It is a class I have taught before with a lot of success and positive feedback. We discuss a variety of topics related to working with and understanding the general culture of start-ups, learning how to find them (as they are not necessarily well known) and profile ones that are hiring in the Triangle area.
We also look at the fact that, although any company could go out of business any day, start-ups tend to do it more frequently because of the market, newness of the companies, and just the general failure rates of newer companies. We specifically look at EvoApp. Now EvoApp, based on everything, should have been a company that was to be a survivor. It had a great idea when the company had started. It also had investment from solid individual and group inventors. It also had high profile customers and solid mentor-ship.
Continue reading “Using Market Research In Start-ups” »
When meeting with business owners, there are two questions I ask of them. The first one is who their best customers are (their target market). The other question I ask is who they think their competition is.
Many times I get vague answers to who their competition is. I feel like the reason this happens is because they are unsure of the word “competition” in relation of their business. According to dictionary.com, the best definition in regards to business, competition is “the rivalry offered by a competitor (opponent)”. Based on this, if your potential target market could go to some other business, hey are your competitor.
Here are some things I would recommend in order to develop and implement a good competitive analysis for your business.
Continue reading “How To Do Comparative Market Research” »
There are many reasons to conduct market research. It is mainly completed on the basis of services and products that the company is offering. Although the number of reasons are literally limitless from broad position projects to determining the best version of a logo, there are five main reasons: Continue reading “Five Reasons To Do Market Research” »
Over the weekend I met someone whose son is opening up a new franchise in Florida. In our discussion he had mentioned that although his son had a business plan, he felt his son needed a little additional research in his plan. I told him that, unfortunately, this is a common situation.
In a slightly dated, but still relevant, 2009 press release, from Michigan CFO Associates, it stated that 90% of small business owners do not do anything to jump start their stagnant businesses. Other findings from the research were: Continue reading “Market Research Helps Business Plans” »
Don’t be jealous sports and golf fans, but I had tickets to Wednesday’s practice round to The Masters. Although I am a self proclaimed hacker, I truly enjoy playing as much as I can. It is never enough, though.
Afterwards as I reflected on the day, the sights, and the sounds, I realized that my day was a lot like a typical day at work. There are things I saw and experienced there that can be applied on a daily basis in a business. Here are 8 things I learned about business at The Masters.
Continue reading “Eight Things I Learned About Business At The Masters” »
Believe it or not, businesses can grow in down markets!
This is especially true for small businesses. However, many businesses are still in survival mode.
As the general population gets larger, the development of niches became more of a potential; especially with the recent trend of buying local. However the “buy local” can actually be developed nationally and internationally. Continue reading “Even In Down Markets, Businesses Need To Figure Out How To Grow” »
You need to read!
OK, now I have upset the people who either do not like to read or have the time to read. But in order to get new ideas, perspectives, or strategies, you need to be constantly educating yourself. This can be done by reading, listening to “books on tape” or watching TED videos. Also, this needs to be in areas outside of your industry and field.
I recently finished reading You’re Not Sellin’ They’re Buyin’ by Tom Woodcock. I had the fortunate experience to listening and meeting Tom at a recent conference in Raleigh. His presentations lead me to read his book on sales. (I know, I know. A market research guy can read a sales book.) He looks at how to deal with competition and he writes, “The biggest mistake you can make concerning your competition is underestimation.” I have written about competition before. Although his reference in the book is in relation to sales reps from different companies, this maxim transcends the purpose written into all industries. By underestimating your competition, you seriously put yourself behind the proverbial 8-ball mainly because they are not underestimating you.
Unfortunately, it is likely that we have underestimated our competition at some point. This is just a sad reality. I know I have done it on more than one occasion. And it has come back and beaten me nearly every time.
What ways have you underestimated your competition?
–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at email@example.com.