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nosehairsPaints a graphic and painful picture, doesn’t it? Well if you feel this way about doing research to fine tune your marketing, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
If you don’t even know what I’m talking about because you’ve never once done market research to grow your business, then you’re in worse shape than I thought and need to laminate this article.
Why Research?
Research is the only way even big companies like Pepsi and Pizza Hut and Playtex (where I worked at as a young gal) know of to figure out what they can sell people, who can be their ideal client, where they can find them and what strategy they should adopt to reach them. One of the first things I do with a new small business client who is trying to grow their business is market research. If you’re running your business on assumptions and wondering why it’s growing too slowly for your taste, I suggest market researching some of those assumptions and seeing where you get with your insights.
What’s So Hard About It?
In small business, research equals talking to people. Horrors, it might even mean talking to people you don’t know. This kills some entrepreneurs because they’ve become accustomed to speaking only to people they know or who are referred to them. If you are one of those who would rather have your nose (or any) hairs pulled out rather than call strangers to find out more info, then you should maybe think about showing up at an event where you’ll have a chance to chat with a target group that you’re researching and engage in an information exchange at the bathroom or at the buffet lineup.
Cold Calling Brrrr
If you can get your head around cold calling though, there are tried and true methods to asking questions that will get you better results than others. Cold calling is much better when you warm it up by telling the person how you came to know of them and by offering something of value in return for their info such as sponsoring their charity or doing a free lunch and learn etc. The main point is that without the information you’re trying to get, you have no real plan. So you can either man (or woman) up and wear a fur coat while you’re dialing for info or ask your own networks if they know anyone in your target group to hit with a few questions.
Death By Survey
Another beloved yet overused set of tools to use for researching your market and determining your strategy is doing electronic surveys through surveymonkey.com or constantcontact.com .  One downside to this is the difficulty there is to reach the exact target that you’re trying to get answers from. Another is if you don’t have a large database of people to send this survey to, you’re not going to get enough answers to make a meaningful conclusion. However, heed my words that any research is better than none and sometimes electronic surveys hurt less than having your nose hairs pulled out.
At the end of the day, if you are not researching your customer’s needs, your competitors’ strengths and the market trends, you are a caveperson sitting silently, waiting for customers to line up outside your cave and it’s just not going to happen.
Get out there, get researching and grit your teeth against the pain of having to do it because it is well worth it.
Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

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