Thinking about a start up or entering a new market?

Don’t dive in without doing at  least “some” market research.

OK, you’ve got a great idea for a new business or maybe just a new market    for a business you already have. Remember, all new ideas are good ideas, mainly because YOU came up with them.

However, the bad news is all new ideas are not equal. Some are great, some just so so and, unfortunately, some are downright bad and could end up costing you a lot of money.

So, what is a hopeful, optimistic entrepreneur to do?

Invest some of your time, and not necessarily a lot of your money,  getting some information about your brainchild of an idea. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. But doing the minimum before you jump in will provide you two things:

  1. It  just may save you from making a big mistake. There are no guarantees and a bad idea may still “look” good until it meets the realities of the real world, but SOME information is better than NO information when evaluating an investment.
  2. However, if the idea continues to “look” good, even after you have gained just a little information, gathering that information can help you begin the marketing planning you will need to launch and grow a new business.

Your Basic (Quick & Short) Checklist

1. Target Audience: How big is it? How are your competitors reaching it? How will you reach it (and for how much)?

2. Who are your competitors? Are there many of them? Does your idea offer something they don’t?

3. What do you think can be your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? Aim for more than just a lower price, more              product options or longer credit/faster delivery. Those are just “things” that a competitor can ultimately offer.             Try  to discover what will make your idea different AND  better in the customer’s eyes.

Basic (and Free) Market Research

  1.  Shop/observe your competitors. Go to their stores. Talk to their employees.  Check out their advertising and social media activities. If they are good marketers, this will tell you a lot about how they see the market and how they approach it. It doesn’t matter if they are B2B or B2C businesses. All of this is information helps you understand where are the obstacles and opportunities for your idea.
  2.  Check out the local Chamber of Commerce and trade associations/organizations and see who are their members in the space you plan to enter. Here in Phnom Penh, the American Chamber of Commerce has a special SME/Start Up Committee you can join. You can join join or just visit other local non-governmental organizations like the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia. These can be good sources for networking and sharing information.
  3. If there is a trade association related to your business idea in your area, contact them for all formation they have. Such organizations are eager to promote their specific industries and companies. Also, make sure you review the free information in the Yellow Pages, on-line articles and relevant websites via the search engines.

No matter what your idea and the limited “research” you do to evaluate it, at some point you will want better, more complete information to fully analyze the market and form the most effective marketing plan you can. Make sure you choose a research provider that helps you ask the right questions and get the most effective answers. We can do that for you.  Leverage Research Solutions.

Political stability keeps Cambodian economy positive, promising for business growth.

Cambodia’s business environment retained a positive outlook during the commune elections held yesterday, with several experts saying they expected the Kingdom’s economy to benefit from continued political stability.

This is good news, as a stable economy and business situation means growth for both existing businesses and an encouraging environment for new or start up companies.

Though in the past, economic uncertainty increased dramatically during the electoral process, the outlook now for investments and business remained relatively unchanged according to members of Cambodia’s business community.

Ngeth Chou, senior consultant at Emerging Markets Consulting (EMC), a firm advising foreign companies on doing business in Cambodia, said that long-term investors showed few concerns regarding the commune election. Many firms continued to conduct feasibility studies in Cambodia and expected to expand their businesses in the Kingdom, he said.

“Investors believe that whoever wins the election, they will treat the private sector well,” he said. “They believe that the government acknowledges that the private sector is the main tax payer to boost government revenue and reduce dependency from foreign aid.

Ngoun Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce said the situation surrounding the election was not as agitated compared to during previous election cycles. He said he had no concerns regarding the country’s future economic growth. “Our economic situation is stable and growth is positive currently, so the election result will not be a concern or a risk to the process of economic growth,” he said.

Overall, the elections are past and the economy is looking stable, so Cambodia’s business situation remains promising. Now it will be important for companies making future business decisions to get the best information they can to guide them.

Leverage Research Solutions is an ideal market research partner for doing just that.

Link to article in Phnom Phen Post.


B2B Spending on Market Research Low…and Going Lower?

A recent survey by ESOMAR* estimated that just 4% of market research spending is on business to business projects. Perhaps, even more shocking is the fact that this year’s latest percentage is DOWN from last year’s 8%.  Andrew Dalglish of Circle Research has a nice write up on that which puts it in perspective.

*For those of you who have no idea who or what ESOMAR is, the following is provided: ESOMAR stands for World Association of Opinion and Marketing Research Professionals (formerly European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research).

The 4% level is shockingly (maybe even unbelievably) low since approximately 50% of businesses in developed countries are fully or partially involved in business-to-business marketing. (Editor’s Note: I don’t believe it is that low, either.)

Thankfully and with full attribution to Andrew, there are a number of points to consider, before all the B2B market researchers start jumping out of windows.

As Andrew writes, “First off, the data may be distorting the true picture a little. ESOMAR’s 4% figure relates to the percentage of market research spend, not market research projects. As business to business market research requires smaller sample sizes than consumer studies, this tends to make them less expensive than their consumer counterparts. This means that the proportion of business to business market research projects may actually be greater than 4%.”

Think of it this way. If you are a manufacturer of big jet engines and you want to research among prospective customers , your research universe is probably less than 100 of the major international airlines. On the other hand, if you’re researching flier interest in having a wifi internet option onboard during an international flight, the total universe is many, many millions. Guess which research project costs more.

But Andrew has some additional considerations that may explain (and question) the 4% number, specifically:

  • “Business to business purchases are seen as ‘rational’ which can lead to the mind-set that “it’s obvious what customers want, so we don’t need to ask”
  • Business to business companies are often ‘engineering’ led. This can lead to a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality and an internal focus
  • In business to business markets customer numbers are limited and relationships with sales teams close. This can lead to assumption (“I know my customer”), subjectivity (“I’ll ask them next time we speak”) and protectiveness (“that’s my customer”), none of which are conducive to conducting objective, independent market research.”

Maybe with all the above in mind, business-to-business marketers should think about investing MORE in research. Those that  do may find they get to know and understand their customers and markets better, and for them … that will translate to business success.