Market Analysis For Start Up And Existing Businesses
On the 11th of April at Square Works in Bristol, hgkc held a roundtable focusing on the importance of market analysis, the process of gathering information about a particular market to understand the industry, competition, customers, and business environment. The event was facilitated by hgkc Associate Joe Constant, who pointed out that when considering market analysis, it was also important to consider AI as not only does it have a huge impact on businesses, but people are relying more on automation and not what was used before.
In attendance was:
- Ian Sandham, from Mark Richard who provide both business and personal insurance.
- Luke Emery, from Nomad Live LTD, a production studio who tackles lighting, sound, and staging of events.
- Simon Halsey, from Imaginable LTD, who engineer wheelchairs for children working with charities and families directly.
- Phil Callan, from One Tree Software LTD, who work with gift vouchers in hospitality, hotels, and restaurants.
- John Gowing, having just finished a master’s degree and working in South Africa, came to the roundtable looking to learn and take ideas that could possibly be used in the public sector.
- Kit McGrath, from Season and Taste, a group of iconic restaurants in Bristol that include Gambas and Bravas.
During the discussion Joe talked about challenges that organisations face when it comes to market analysis as well as the different ways that businesses can perform it. He stated the importance of knowing what you want your business to focus on and understanding what your customers are looking for. He posed the question what do you want to go into market for? How do you stand out?
Kit stated that the hospitality industry has been struggling due to COVID-19 and developing new restaurants is a risk that businesses have to take if they want to grow. To perform market research, they suggested visiting competitors in the local area to help identify what is missing or what they could do better. It was pointed out that they need to focus on what they can do well, what is their USP and where can they improve upon what their competitors are doing. Kit also discussed looking at market analysis from an employer perspective, focusing on recruitment and understanding why employees choose to stay where they are. They wanted to know what they can do to make themself a better employer and how they could encourage them to stay for a long time.
Ian said analysing their sales was a requirement of their regulations. He would like to know what his customers really think. Their clients are generational, and he knows what the market is but would like a better understanding of how to reach it. Ian stated that understanding the customer’s needs and preferences should drive everything you do in business.
Simon commented that it was important for his business to understand the pathway by which his customers reached him and how they can dive into that pathway. When the discussion turned to cost, he mentioned that people tend to go for the more expensive chairs just because the higher price leads them to believe it is a better product. Some families received funding from charities, and researching what a charity is willing to pay could allow them to increase prices. However, some families don’t qualify for help from charities and a price increase could turn them away. This research would give him a better understanding of his options for ethical pricing when dealing with charities and families in need.
Phil’s main challenge is understanding the customer (the ones using the voucher system). The benefit of competing on service at the point of purchase is hard to see as the customer who buys the software might not be fully aware.
After being shown a list of different ways of performing market analysis from Joe’s presentation, John said he thought that online forums and government data would be difficult to narrow down to niche markets. It would be a challenge to segment his target audience.
The group discussed the opportunities to learn from competitors when on site, observing how they do things. They also understood the benefit of knowing what people are prepared to pay for their services. Joe went on to talk about the differences between B2B and B2C market analysis. He stated that it is necessary to understand that the needs of a business differ from the needs of the direct customer. Every business needs to be aware of what the consumer wants and optimise how they can deliver the service. It is also important to understand what capacity your business can deliver to.
If you are considering exiting your business, you need to fully understand your customers as any future purchasers or successors will want this information, and it will help to increase the value of your business if you are meeting your target market’s needs.
For those businesses using a middleman, it was also recommended that they target straight to the direct customer themselves to help build a desire and demand for the product or service. If you focus your market analysis you can help create a demand.
Peter Quintana, director of hgkc who was also in attendance, suggested incentivising research surveys, motivating your audience to complete them. He also emphasised the importance of how you create your questions to get the answers you need rather than the answers you want. Focus on the wording as well as content, don’t ask Yes or No questions but try and get as much detail as possible.
As the roundtable came to a close, Joe asked everyone what they felt they had taken away from the session:
- Phil realised that he wasn’t the right man to perform market analysis and would need a third party to do it for him to make sure the questions were objective!
- Simon understood the importance of route to market and a carefully designed question strategy to deliver the information needed.
- John noted the difference between research and analysis and the impact it has on building strategies.
- Ian found that big data can be helpful and that understanding his future customer base is just as important as knowing the current market.
- Kit felt they had an increased confidence to perform market analysis and found they were able to present a case to the owners of the business to encourage them to do it.
To conclude Joe made the point that market analysis doesn’t only show you what to do but shows you what not to do, as it will help with analysis of which products are selling, what is working and what isn’t.
If you want to join events like this one - follow hgkc's Eventbrite page and get notified about their upcoming roundtables and book club.