Carrying Out Research On A Tight Budget – Lesson For SMEs

by Mark Bailey

Research is one of the most important thing in a business especially the SMEs. Some business tend to overlook the idea of doing research be it on their competitors, their customer or their market and they end up losing the bigger picture of how they are going to run the business effectively. The practice can also be very intimidating when your business is running on a tight budget. At this point, you may not see the relevance of doing research but the truth of the matter is that research is very vital for the progress of your business.

Bigger business are benefiting from doing the research on their customers and the SMEs can learn one or two things from them. The SMEs can still do research when they are on a tight budget. How? Having a tight budget means that they are going to have to be more flexible and think intelligently on how they are going to do the research to their advantage.

Using the data that is already available

As an SME, you need to have some data about the potential client or customer base. You can do some research using these available data and know what your clients want from you or how you are going to deal with them. Organizing the data you already have will help you identify the gaps in the way that you are dealing with your clients. You need no do research for the sake of it. Having a lot of data and not being in a position to use it is useless. Every research that is being conducted for the business should be answering a particular question. What is the objective of the research? Having this question in mind will help you do a thorough research that seeks to answer the objective. It will also prove to be cost effective when you are carrying out a research with a certain objective in mind. If you are doing a research that does not answer any important question, then you need to stop carrying out the research.

Quality over quantity

This notion is all about prioritizing what you actually need. There is no point in carrying out a lot of research yet you are not using the finding that you are getting from it. It is better to have few information about your clients that you can analyze and interpret for the sake of the business. However small the information can be, the interpretation that you get from it is what will be of value to you and your business.

You can communicate with your research company just to make sure that they know exactly what you seek to achieve from the research they are carrying out for you. SMEs need to take caution to not over invest in research at the initial stages only to end up with a mammoth of information which cannot help the business in any way. SMEs can also sign up to the Fair Data Scheme which will help you collect relevant data and store it safely. Giant companies which do research on their customer always store it for future. Keeping your data orderly is vital since you can use it at a later time in the progress of your business.

Using free resources

If you are running an SME, then you can utilize some of the free resources that are online to do research on your customers and also the market that you are serving. Social media is one of the way that you can collect as much information as you need for free. However, when you are using social network, make sure that you have posted the best image of your brand to the audience. Always take into account the opinion of people when and use it for the betterment of the company. In addition to that, social media only contains a small percentage of people that speak out their views. The more private and reserved people are always silent on the social media platforms and that is why you need not overlook their importance in the success of your business.

Flexible thinking

This is the point where you think critically and take into account all behavior of your target market. Keen observation of your clientele and even your employee can give you the general direction that your business is supposed to move, or rather if you are moving in the best direction. This is a cost effective measure that the company can use to do research on their customers. There is power in qualitative insight and things such as observation help in doing quantitative research on customers.

If you are thinking of steering tour business in 2016, then you need do adequate research concerning your market. It does not matter if you are running an SME, you need to do research just the same as what the large businesses do. You can still do research when you are on a tight budget.

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