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Discussions on Research for Entrepreneurs

~ with Candice R

Candice, will you kick this off with some clarity, what is RESEARCH all about anyway, in the business sense?

Candice R:

In essence, research is simply about gathering information to better inform your business decisions.

This can be done in one of two ways: primary or secondary research. Primary research meaning you do the research yourself, and secondary research meaning someone else has done the research and you can use their reports/findings as your source of information.

Secondary research should really be part of the CE journey anyway, as you embark on your journey there is inevitably some self discovery be it gathering information on the market you are entering into, or understanding the competitive landscape, current trends, etc. More than likely these insights are what helped you frame your idea and will continue to over time.

When embarking on primary research, which is often the case for CE’s who are doing new things and require new first hand information and feedback on their business/product./service in order to refine and improve and in some cases to pivot, we can also approach this information gathering in two ways: qualitatively or quantitatively.

  • Quantitative research is all about the numbers, big sample sizes, it can therefore be quite expensive and less detailed and not very in-depth - there is only so much detail one can go into in an electronic survey for example. What it is great for is those topline stats like 90% of people said x, so traditional businesses usually cling to this statistical data to make decisions because on the surface it feels less risky when a response is based on a high number.

  • Qualitative research is really where the magic happens less numbers but depth and detailed information that can really enlighten us as CE’s. We gather insights by simply talking to people in any format, be it 1:1 or in small groups. And the best part: it can be relatively easy for the CE to implement.

Alan W:

From a design perspective research yes includes what you have mentioned. It also ensure a user or HUMAN centered approach to test the market early and to ensure product to market is on target as much as possible.

How did you even come across this topic of RESEARCH FOR CE’S, what’s the backstory?

Candice R:

Traditional research often comes with associations of being expensive, taking weeks and months to execute, followed by lengthy technical reporting. Market research for corporations has always followed this very structured, technical, lengthy, complex and expensive approach.

I have worked in traditional research roles in the past and I have also worked in environments where insights were greatly needed but budgets were tight which means in a research role, you have to get quite creative in terms of how you get your hands on insights that can really shape a business, for the better. To bring solid insights into boardrooms where decisions are being made.

I speak to CE’s on a daily basis and see how often business decisions are being made based on assumptions, many of which cost them months or even years of going in the wrong direction when all one needed was access to insights that can better inform business direction. I realised research was being greatly overlooked and simply isn't that accessible for the CE. Yet, every CE can easily have access to insights that can help them pivot in the most surprising and successful ways for their business. It does not need to be lengthy, expensive nor complicated. Everyone has clients who are willing to share views, customers who are willing to give feedback, employees who are desperate to share, and so on. Every business has accessible people who are willing to share their perspectives, and in this sharing, insights are gold. With well designed questions, applying the art of analysis where we extract more than findings but rather insights that can inform strategy, research can be easily undertaken by any CE looking to progress.

Alan W:

For me it was when i did UX and Service Design - a key foundation is to involve the audience that you build for and to have an outside perspective and outside feedback to what you create.

Is a RESEARCH something that CE’s should be considering?

Candice R:

Yes. Every CE has a goal or milestone they are trying to reach and how we get there requires more informed insight and less assumptions and guessing or feeling our way through.

  • If you are building out a product or service you need to be talking to your potential clients or customers, regularly. They will tell you what is and isn't working for them, what the pulls and pushes are for uptake. They can reveal the one factor influencing their decision making. You never want to get caught up building something that will ultimately get rejected when the answers to uptake are easily accessible if you only invest in research throughout the process.

  • If you are trying to get more sales to retain customers or clients, research can help unlock the why’s behind sales decline or lack of increased sales.

  • If you are growing in size and people in your business, research can help you retain employees if you only knew why employee retention is at risk.

  • If you are failing to get investment, research can help unlock why that is.

  • And the list goes on, research is how we get answers and direction to the current business challenge we are struggling with.

So, unless you want to stay where you are, CE’s are not Alan W:

I couldn’t agree more. The other benefit is people want to be heard and not just spoken to. I think research methods contribute to that and help our target markets to voice their opinion.

What are the benefits of when INVESTING IN RESEARCH?

Candice R:

If CE’s have access to insights that can inform decisions around their product/service/even their business as a whole, it means they save time (be it weeks, months, even years of going down the wrong path), but more importantly it means they are breaking down the barriers that are standing in their way to success. What more of a benefit is there? Not to mention the wasted effort and expense involved when going down the wrong path. It’s a no brainer.

Alan W:

Get feedback and NEW insights early. ANd then DOING something about it.

What are the questions I should be asking myself, if i’m considering pursuing RESEARCH for my business?

Candice R:

There is one simple question really, and that is how much are you basing your business/product/service decisions on your own thoughts and assumptions? These decisions SHOULD be based on regular feedback loops with clients, customers, employees, and so on. Simple.

Alan W:

What do I have to lose? Is NOT doing it worth the risk. This can help us as business owners not too spend time and money and effort on the wrong things, things that might not even work or that people don’t want.

Final pearls of wisdom to share on this topic?

Candice R:

You can get groundbreaking insights that can pivot your business success in the most incredible ways if we stop to listen. Research is about listening and it is a mechanism to extract insights from what we hear that can really shape the future of a CE’s business, get us closer to reaching that vision. And the easy part is that this can be done by an experienced researcher in a week, even a day, depending on the challenge being addressed, but the point is that CEs CAN have access to insights and it need not be complicated. Just like most CE’s are challenging the status quo, making research and insights accessible for anyone in business is challenging the traditional market research corporations.

Alan W:

Make research part of everything you do. It is like walking into a bakery, you’re not just going to buy from them because the baker told you to. You want to know more before you buy that cake. SO the opposite is true as well: WE need to find out more from our audience before we build and sell. Besides, involving our audience right from the start creates trust which is what we want, right?

~ From the podcast, "RESEARCH FOR THE CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR", take a listen over here

Work with Candice R


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