Situation: The Company wants to enter a new market, but does not know much about it. Jim Collins advises understanding the brutal facts of any business as an essential part of strategy. How do you research the brutal facts of a business or market?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Determine the key players in the market, and closely observe them – their mistakes and successes. Identify and interview clients and look for gaps in products and services offered. Use this research to develop a differential advantage for your product/service.
- Use allied resources. For a general contractor this includes real estate professionals and other allied professionals who know the marketplace and the performance/reputation of other contractors.
- Business consulting firms conduct surveys of markets. Look for and purchase published surveys. If you participate in their surveys you can get the results at a reduced cost.
- Trade magazines and business journals like the San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal publishes surveys of the “Top 25” local businesses by industry. These help to assess local competition and gather information about revenues, principals, etc.
- Leverage industry associations. Attend conventions and learn the lay of the land from the attending sales people.
- Leverage Internet resources: Hoovers.com, Dunn & Bradstreet, HarrisInfo.com, and IndustryBuildingBlocks.com.
- Have your best sales reps talk to customers in the new market about their needs and desires, and their current suppliers. Ask them to gather information and present to marketing and sales competitive reviews of the market based on what they learn.
Key Words: Market Assessment, Customer Needs, Customer Survey, Differential Advantage, Consulting Reports, Trade Associations