Best approach to researching your industry
Knowing and researching future trends in your industry is important if you don’t want end up like Blockbuster video chain which stuck to their guns despite the winds of change, and Kodak which failed to adapt to a new marketplace.
The questions to ask are:
- Do you have a future in the industry?
- Does your industry have a future?
For example, mortgage brokers are now being faced with a potential that they may start to lose a huge portion of their income with the changes to commission.
Zaun Bhana, Managing Director of Leap Consulting, says when researching your industry, watch out for herd mentality.
It can be particularly useful to look at parallel industries, for example, if you’re a lawyer, look at automation or robotic advice, or if you’re an accountant look at financial services.
“If everyone thinks the same and does the same thing and you just end up following that path … it makes it harder to grow your business, to understand why you set out, for customers to choose you or to understand what’s different about you.”
Bhana recommends spending time and money on researching and answering the following questions:
- What’s going to make us stand out or different?
- What are our values?
- Who are we likely to come up against?
- What’s our story going to be?
- Who are the clients that we’re after?
- Who else is typical in this market?
- What should I have?
- What is the competitors’ offering?
- What are our stories?
- What are our benefits in this space?
- If I left this business/industry tomorrow and wanted to disrupt it, what would I do? (This question may help you break an industry bottleneck).
Bhana says it’s important to put in lots of research when you’re looking at releasing a new offering to the market.
The following list applies particularly to medium business but is helpful for small business:
- What’s the market that’s available in the space?
- What is the problem?
- What is the job to be done or the opportunities?
- What’s the market size?
- What’s the opportunity?
- Who are the competitors in the market?
- What’s the regulation in that market?
- Where would our offering fit in that market?
- What’s our point of difference?
- How are we going to go to market and present your offering?
- What types of customers are we looking for?
- How long is it going to take us to launch in the market?
- What are the cost constraints and the budget to operate in that market?
- What resources for delivery or for manufacturing are needed?
- Do we have the skills to support it?
- If not, where would we find the skills or support for it?
- What is the benefit to the industry of this offering?
- Do we have case studies?
- Has it worked for others?
- Which market is attractive to you?
- What benefit will that market/industry get (monetary or time reasons)?
In small business, often the owner will wake up on Monday and say we’re going to try this’ and then start to look at the potential margins.
“In this situation I would always say that we have to go on and work out how quickly can we do it? Can we do it properly? Do we have to run a contract for it? What are the things that we’re exposing ourselves to selling at? What does it mean to have/not have the right certificates?” Bhana says.
When thinking about a new product, you also need to think about and research questions around the core segments, HR, legal, accounting, technology, finance.