A Big Week for (Current & Wannabe) Entrepreneurs And Startups In The Triangle

Downtown RaleighIt has been a big week in the Triangle area for those in and around startups, or those thinking about a new entrepreneurial venture.

In any given week, there are always good events to network and get re-acquainted with those you may not have seen around. This is true for the Triangle area too. However, this week we saw three different great events to not only network, but learn and understand hoe innovative and entrepreneurial the area really is. Read more of this post

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Why Market Research Is Important In Today’s Economy

BusinessThe economy is not very good. (Was that supposed to be a news flash?) OK, everyone knows that. Unemployment remains high and for the jobs that are out there, many employers are not finding qualified individuals. Everyday cost gas are taking a larger percentage of our take-home pay. Government involvement into businesses seems to be a more pressing issue. Before you decide to jump off a cliff (don’t do it…it’s really not worth it), you need to consider how you run your business. In you business, everyday you are needing to make decisions that affect the success or failure of the business.

Decisions are made every day on pricing the products and services you sell, determining who to hire for a given open position, or where to cut cost to improve operational efficiencies. In today’s business environment, these decisions can lead to the success or failure of the business. When looking at trying to grow your business, many owners look at the cost, the projected revenues, maybe even a new marketing campaign. However, too many do not consider doing adequate research to launch their efforts.

By performing market research early in the process of starting a business, growing it, or doing something to make it survive in today’s market, you can make smarter decisions. By doing this, you can help determine the success (or failure) of the new venture. You can also better understand who your target market. You may also be able to find the optimal pricing for your product or service.

Then, based on the research, you act on the findings to start that new venture in a clear direction. Doing this will help prevent failure and ensure success.

What is something you are thinking about that you can use market research for?

–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 jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Hey Raleigh, It’s Time To Startup and Play!

Startup And PlayOn Wednesday evening, The Flying Saucer in Raleigh was packed full of entrepreneurs, startups and throngs of people who want to be near them.

This is just another example of how dynamic Raleigh (and the Triangle) truly is.  And based on discussions and interviews with Aaron Gerry and Patrick Shampine, who organized the event, they think so too.

Aaron told WRAL “The big idea is to create a groundswell of support for consumer-facing Triangle startups by connecting the companies with the community at large,” He continues to stay that both he and Patrick “strongly that the Triangle community is stronger if we all work together. We want to help bridge the Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh ecoystems through a collective celebration of entrepreneurship.”

“My focus is to foster relationship building and continue to put momentum behind our ever growing startup community in the Triangle,” Shampine told WRAL.

The whole idea of Startup and Play was not only to get people together that had an interest in startups and the entrepreneurial community, but to introduce many of them to the public.  People were able to learn about Matt Senter and his new privacy oriented photo sharing, play the newest game “Plight of the Zombie” by Sparkplug Games, or sign up with LiPi’s to be beta testers for their new platform.

The list of Raleigh-based startups include:

Be sure to check out all of the great companies.  Although these are not all inclusive, these companies are just an example of the entrepreneurial community in Raleigh and the Triangle.

Let me know what local startups are your favorite.

–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 jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Why Business Owners Should Hire Market Researchers

American FlagNote: Regular readers of this blog know I post on Monday’s.  However, to honor those who have died for my country (I do get international readers), I rested and remembered their sacrifice.

Last week, I wrote about why business owners don’t hire market researchers for their business.  It all comes down to a great line from the movie Jerry McGuire, “Show me the money!”  Well, ok it is really “Show me the value!”  It just does not seem right to see Cuba Gooding Jr. shouting that. Read more of this post

Why Business Owners Don’t Hire Market Researchers

New BusinessWhen I get the change to talk with small business owners or those thinking about starting a business, I regularly get push back from them asking why they need to hire someone to do market research.  Before I answer them, I ask them why they are asking me.  The typical answer is that they know who their customer is.  So I ask them who their typical customer is.  Frequently, I get two types of answers: either so broad you would never be able to efficiently promote to them, or so specific, that there would not be enough of them to make your business successful.  In my mind, this provides me an opportunity to show how I can help them succeed. Read more of this post

Five Reasons To Do Market Research

Research DefinedThere 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: Read more of this post

Market Research Findings Help Marketing

Last week, I wrote about using market research to develop your business plan. But, just as important as business plans is your marketing plan. There is an old quote in marketing that you “know only 50% of your marketing is effective, you just don’t know which 50%.” However, this old adage is just not accurate anymore. By developing your marketing campaigns in a correct way, you can track the effectiveness of your marketing.

Before doing anything, you need to think it out ahead of time and plan it. The old saying of the 5P’s (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance) rings true nearly every time and this is no exception. Once you have developed your marketing plan, implementation and tracking is easy to do. Here are some easy idea to help track your marketing. Read more of this post

Market Research Helps Business Plans

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:

  • 99% of businesses have no written plan for growth.
  • 98% of businesses fail by the 10th year.
  • 80% of businesses fail because of under-capitalization.
  • 23% of businesses price their goods or services correctly.

When developing or revising your business plans, there are several areas where market research can be used to improve your business plan.  The two main ares where research can best help your business plan is for competitive analysis and developing your target market.

  • Competitive Analysis:  I have written a number of times about understanding your competition.  By doing a comprehensive, independent look at your competition, you can develop a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) for each of your competitors and yourself.  With this analysis, you can identify areas where your business model is better than theirs and areas where you may not want to compete against because their company has a competitive advantage.
  • Target Market Development:  The only thing that is more important about knowing your competition is knowing your target market.  You can do this in a number of ways.  Talking with your current and past customers are a great way to get to know them better.  This can be done by interviews or surveys.  During your discussions with your customers, be sure to identify why your customers buy you over your competition.  Also, get to know them from a segmentation aspect.  For example, if you are a B2C business, know who your best and typical customers are from a demographic perspective (martial status, age range, kids, household income).  On the other hand, if you are a B2B business, knowing the industries, employee count, revenue range and growth are the metrics you should be grouping your customers in.

How have you used market research to improve your business plan?

–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 jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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