Vancouver business news
I’ve written a lot lately about market research for my recent workshop, on Accelerating Business Value with Market Research. We covered topics like market demographics and overcoming market research myths (particularly, that it’s not necessary to be successful. It is). But what are the questions that companies need to focus on to direct their research?
- (DOWNLOAD our Market Research Tool Box 47-slide PowerPoint for just $9.95)
There is no magical shortlist that will cover all possible avenues of research, but these 15 market research questions will get any company off to a good start:
- What is the market size?
- What is the growth rate?
- What stage of development is the industry (introduction, growth, mature)?
- What is the number of industry participants (who, size, reputation, niche, strategy)?
- What is the nature of competition (price, quality, delivery mechanisms)?
- Are there barriers to entry (costs, regulatory approvals, expertise)?
- What trends exist (social, political, economic, technology)?
- What are the prospects for the industry?
- What are the key drivers for success (profitability)?
- Have there been any acquisitions in the industry?
- Is the industry fragmented or is it dominated by large suppliers?
- Are there underserved market opportunities?
- How are sales channels organized?
- What are the value chain structures (horizontal and vertical)? Who are the key players in each category?
- What do buyers need?
These are all critical questions for startups and growing corporations in any industry. Investors want to see that you have done your homework and have a good handle on customers, competitors and industry dynamics.
- To learn more, check out our Market Research Tool Box containing 47 PowerPoint slides with an overview of the tools you can use in conducting market research to make better decisions.
What questions would you add to our list of important market research questions?
Valuation can be a black art even when you’ve got revenues and a record of expenditure you can use to calculate projected profits over a number of years. After all, who is to say that those profits will stay constant? What if a competitor comes out with a product that’s going to give your company a run for its money?
How to Value a Company. Use the Tools and Avoid Common Mistakes
Valuation can be very subjective. And again, if you’re dealing with a startup, there are so many variables it can be tough for an entrepreneur or investor to know where to begin.
- (Download our simulation tool that helps companies establish valuation estimates as guidelines for discussion with investors)
Here are some common mistakes even self-styled experts have made that you want to avoid:
- Lack of objectivity. A company executive may be tempted to post an overly optimistic business forecast. Skittish investors who don’t have all of the information may be too pessimistic. You need balance.
- Forget about cash flow. It is tempting to look at the overall revenue minus expenditures and call it a day. But what happens when a company faces monthly bills and only manages to get paid by its customers every 3 to 6 months? Once the startup cash burns out, a problem with cash flow can put the kibosh on a business – which won’t do wonders for its valuation.
- Counting intangibles. Customer goodwill, great branding and a convenient location are already accounted for in the company’s sales (eg. When Apple sells an iPad, its sale is a result of its brand recognition and easy-to-find stores). So you don’t need to count these things twice.
- Comparing apples and oranges. “Industry average” revenues or expenditures may not apply to a single niche company touting an innovative business model or blockbuster product.
I’m getting ready to present my workshop on Accelerating Business Value with Market Research at SFU Harbour Centre in December. Market research is always a hot topic: managers need to know how to do it. Investors need to know that the people running their companies know how to do it. And reporters, analysts and blog writers are constantly writing about it.
Here are some of the more interesting articles and blog posts I’ve read recently. Get a flavor for some of the topics I’ll be dealing with in my workshop and enjoy some keen insights:
- The democratization of market research. What if just about anyone could pose questions to a target population and receive unfiltered, immediate answers they could trust? It has already begun.
- Why market research needs to stay classy. Don’t do flimsy surveys, people.
- Social Media and Market Research: The Marriage That Can’t Be Ignored. Be a market research methodology agnostic.
- Fail Factors – Why Startups Die: Market Research. “Good companies do this research BEFORE they make huge bets. Arrogant/stupid companies don’t do it at all. Inexperienced companies do it too late, normally.”
- How Much Should Market Research Cost? Good question.
- How Market Research Could Have Saved Netflix From Losing Over 800,000 Customers. Great case study.
If you’ve read any interesting articles on the topic of market research lately, feel free to leave some tips and links in the comments!
Learn more at my workshop on December 7 in Vancouver. Register today for Accelerating Business Value with Market Research
I’m giving a workshop on Accelerating Business Value with Market Research on Wednesday, December 7 at SFU Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver. This is an ideal workshop for managers at all levels. Bonus: sign up by November 15 and you’ll get a $80 discount off the regular price.
Effective Market Research Techniques for Entrepreneurs, Market Segmentation, Business Decision-Making and More
What will you learn? You’ll get tools and insights on how to use research techniques to accelerate business growth. Learn how to:
- Scope the market size of your market using 7 highly effective techniques.
- Segment your markets and position your products or services.
- Generate new product ideas, test concepts and products and measure market performance.
- Gather competitor information.
- Do market research to help you make better decisions.
The workshop’s speakers will include:
- Lyn Blanchard of Creekstone Consulting Inc.
- Matt Shepherd , Mustel Research Group (questionnaire design)
- David Humphrey, Jostle Corporation (usability studies)
- James Mazur, President, GoneFishing Consulting Inc. (consumer market research)
- Dean Prelazzi, VP BC Innovation Council (research for decision-making)
- Jason Cyr, President Tiipz (Social Media Research).
Need more reasons to come to the workshop? Participants receive a 100 page booklet on market research, hear from expert speakers, learn from case studies and much, much more.
Register today for Accelerating Business Value with Market Research