Before I owned my own craft business I worked in the Fashion industry as a Designer and Developer for British Fashion Designers. It was my job to create new products that had the potential to grow our sales season on season. As you would imagine my ability to do so relied heavily on my eye for good design and branding, but it also relied on a detailed understanding of the customer, our products, competitors and the market place… to achieve this I needed an arsenal of information at my fingertips in our design sessions.
I needed the same information when I made business decisions in my craft business, in exactly the same way you do for yours.
In fact any business regardless of its size or industry base needs to be on top of their research and being so gives you some really great tools for growth.
The 4 Things Your Research Should Tell You;
1. Who your customer is
a. What they think of your brand, products/services and pricing
b. Why they buy what they buy, how they buy it and where from
c. Where you can find them to sell to them
d. When they prefer to shop
e. How they like to be sold to
2. Gives you a better understanding of your current products/services
a. You understand how your customer reacts to them
b. You understand how they stack up against competition
c. You understand where they fit into the market
d. You understand what you need to do to improve them and sell more
3. What’s happening in your industry
a. You can spot opportunities and take action quickly
b. You spot trends before they go mainstream
c. You understand the economics of your individual market and how social economic factors might affect it
4. Makes it clear who your competitors are
a. What they make
b. Why they market the way they do
c. Where they sell
d. When and how they sell
Armed with this knowledge you can answer all sorts of questions in your business. You could answer;
How affective is my branding?
What do my customers think of my products?
Who is my customer?
How do I market to my customer on-line?
What changes should I make to my marketing?
What new opportunities are there for me?
How can I improve my sales?
Research takes a good deal of the guess work out of those important decisions and reduces the risk of spending time, money and energy on something that doesn’t work at improving your sales.
So let me ask you… when you last launched a new product or service to your customers, how did they react?
Did anyone care?
If the answer was less than, ‘OMG I smashed my sales target!’ Then you need to start building your research database.
My Top Research Tip
One of the best things I learnt to do very early on was to keep a note of everything I came across that could be useful.
So my top tip is to get yourself a notepad, or a journal and create sections for each key research area; Customer, Product, Market and Competitor. Then when you find out something that will be useful to remember, write it down.
It really doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.
Imagine... You could make more sales, just by practising better research!
Does that sound like a really cool way to grow your business?
I have created a bundle of 4, 30 minute video workshops I will be taking you through;
why we need to do business research
what it's useful for
where to start collect the perfect data
how to plan your research time
That's a whole heap of knowledge at your fingertips!
UPDATE: This course is now available in the Craft Biz Incubator!