In our previous post, we discussed key elements for researching and analysing your market such as surveys and how they can help you understand your market position better. In this post, we discuss some of the other ways by which you can research and analyse your market better.
Usually, mystery shopping is associated as a technique used by large retailers, but that does not mean it cannot apply to your small business. Mystery shopping is a practical way to understand your business from an outside perspective and see where improvement is needed.
Do this for your main competitors and for your own business, ideally anonymously using someone who is not known to your company (either hired or a personal connection)
Have them conduct enquiries over the phone, internet, in-person and raise queries about product use, negotiate pricing, purchase the product and try it as well. Once they do the same with a competitor, ask them to evaluate competitor’s product(s) against yours, honestly. Use their feedback to improve your sales process, and understand the operational side of the business
Competitor collaborative research (yes, really!)
Perhaps an unconventional approach, but one that can provide tangible insights into your business. Invite them over to see your operation and to ‘discuss matters of common interest and possible collaboration’. Talk about industry trends and exchange gossip, and ask to visit them in reciprocation. You’ll probably find you don’t compete head-to-head, opening up opportunity and trust.
If these meetings go well, invite them to participate in your research. Perhaps they will have observations you had not thought of, and the information found could be useful for both of your businesses going forward.
Build a long-term Internet research project
The previous steps were short-term and immediate, but this one takes on a long-term focus to continually analyse your market. Draw up a set of words and phrases that relate to you and your industry and set these up in daily / weekly Google alerts here to self-report to you.
As the information comes in, modify the terms to more specific and add suffices such as market, dispute, cost, legal and other terms that may apply. After a week or two, you will have refined your automated search into a manageable stream of key data that you can use to draw observations about your industry. LinkedIn interest groups are another good way to find daily intelligence from relevant people in the industry.
This is only one of 200 methods extracted from Runagood® AI Business Advisor. We aim to make business advice affordable and sustainable for small businesses everywhere.