You’ve probably been thinking about it for a while now,….. that problem facing your business that you don’t quite know how to fix. It could be declining sales, lack of consumer enthusiasm for your product or service, poor customer traffic, low awareness in-spite of your best efforts to advertise….etc.

You are most likely aware that you need some kind of research done to unearth the real reason behind your business woes. So where does one begin in planning to undertake market research in response to a business challenge?

Here is a simple 4 step guide to engaging the services of a market research partner to help you solve your business challenges.

  1. Describe the Business Problem/challenge

This does not mean that you draft a 5page dissertation on the history and nature of the business, but it does mean that you state the real issue you are facing and the context or background behind it.  This could be as simple as a sentence for example:

“Sales have continuously declined over the past year despite increased spend on awareness and promotion”

  1. Draft some sample questions you may have that you would like answered                                              

This always helps trigger important ideas and issues that must be targeted or incorporated into the survey, interviews or questionnaire tools that will be developed. Drafting some questions can be really simple but helps give a clearer picture of what answers or expectations you may have in mind. For example, from the example above, some sample questions include:

  • Do customers face a challenge in accessing my goods or services?
  • Are my prices favorable?
  • Is there a new competitor in the category?
  1. Document what expectations/outcomes or results you expect to achieve through the research 

While this may seem rather daunting given the varied number of responses any research can yield, you can ask your MR Partner to work with you in coming up with a tighter list of research objectives that must be addressed by the research. This not only provides clarity for both parties but also helps make sure all parties are aligned on what research inputs will deliver actionable insights.

  1. Determine who else maybe interested parties in the final research report                                  

Research results are best articulated as tangible actions that must be implemented to resolve the issues at hand. While you may be the lead interested party in the outcomes of the research process, it is important to keep in mind others who might benefit from the outputs of the research. This may be colleagues in other departments who may be directly or indirectly linked to the sales challenge or perhaps if you are small mid-size entrepreneur it may be useful to share insights with investors, directors or other stakeholders in the business strategy

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