GOOD MARKET RESEARCH CAN SAVE YOUR BUSINESS!
By Ina Georgala, Omega Consulting
Entrepreneurs are often hesitant to go to the additional expense of conducting market research before they launch a new business, product or service. However, good market research tailored to your business needs can save you a lot more than you might think.
Doing business in South Africa is tough at the moment. Not only are customers, investors and banks a lot more discerning when spending or investing their available cash, but competing small and medium enterprises are cutting their profit margins to the bone just to stay alive. In such a volatile business environment, many small businesses are reluctant to spend anything on what is perceived as a luxury item such as market research. The reality is that an astonishing 70% to 80% of South African SMME's fail within their first five years, despite the enormous potential they have to drive economic growth and create jobs. Several academic studies into this phenomenon have identified several factors that contribute to SMME failure, but the most basic one is an inability to manage change.
In order to manage change (whether it is changes in technology, in customer needs or in market conditions) all business owners need accurate, reliable and current information. It is unlikely that he or she will be able to make the sound business decisions that will enable his or her business to survive – and thrive – without such information. This is where market research comes in. The Small Business Encyclopaedia loosely defines market research as The process of gathering, analysing and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business's target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face.
Very few SMME owners have the skills to conduct their own market research, and it is, therefore, a good idea to engage a market research professional to do the research for you. Good marketing research could mean the difference between business success and failure. Initially, all SMMEs should start off with market research to test if there are viable, long term markets for their products and services, as this will prevent potentially costly business failures. Information gathered through market research can also give existing SMMEs the necessary edge to create a product or service that stands out against amongst competitors or that can open up a market segment to drive more business their way. Omega Consulting Africa (Pty) Ltd (OCA) now also offers a professional market research service tailored specifically for Overberg SMMEs. OCA can assist your business in gathering up-to-date information about your current or potential markets, your competitors and the demand for your service or product as well as the right target audience for marketing campaigns.
Contact The Overberg Business and Lifestyle Magazine today to find out more.