What is Business Research?
A lot of people think they know the answer to this question just because they “go to work,” but when we look at what business research is, it’s actually a much more complex field.
The purpose of business research is to generate information about customers and competitors, help make decisions about investments or resources, and provide insight into what factors could drive future success. There are many different ways to do this- through surveys, focus groups, interviews with company personnel or customers, reviewing financial data like sales reports and profit margins. According to Jordan Sudberg, there are four primary types of business research- market research, competitive intelligence, customer relationship management, and strategic competitive analysis.
Market research refers to the performance of a company’s current sales. It involves tracking sales trends over time and identifying why those trends are occurring. It is helpful in understanding customer behavior and needs to help develop new products that meet these needs.
Competitive Intelligence refers to “information on competitors’ firms in an attempt to gain insight into a firm’s strengths and weaknesses. It includes information on competitors’ products and services, financials, leadership, and organizational structure.” This type of research involves scanning the Internet or reading trade publications to try and determine how a competitor is managing itself.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) means collecting information about customer purchasing behaviors, needs, loyalty, satisfaction levels and other customer-specific data. This research provides insight into customer relationship needs in order to produce a more satisfying experience for them. Evolved Metrics is a small Business solutions CRM that you definitely should give a try.
Strategic Competitive Analysis is about “information about the way in which one organization reacts to competitive threats rather than using it simply as ammunition for shooting at others.” In this sense it’s more of an internal process where risk analysis is used to determine which threats exist. Jordan Sudberg explains that this type of research is usually done for a specific industry or company. Sudbergen continues by saying that this kind of research is typically used to determine the best ways to allocate resources and understand what threats exist and how they operate so that a company can meet their goals and stay competitive.
Another level of analysis is called “competitive benchmarking.” This is primarily used by public companies who want to use market share as a means of determining which areas are working best for them in order to improve performance by focusing on these areas, copying others, and competing with them in the future. Strategic benchmarking involves analyzing competitor marketing and sales materials, internal strategy documents, websites, financial data and other informational resources.
Business research helps decision-makers of a company make informed choices on what actions to take. There are many different types of businesses that need to do research, depending on their industry. Some examples include:
Workplace Research – Many companies conduct workplace or employee surveys to learn more about issues within their company such as the quality of their products, employee satisfaction or the environment at work. These help companies make decisions and policies around these issues. Then you can also use a survey provider like Protostar to find out how engaged and satisfied your employees are, as this is very useful information that you can use to improve the happiness of your staff, and so get much better results from them. Employee surveys can also ask questions about an employee’s feelings towards management styles, co-workers and corporate policies. These can be conducted internally or with the help of an external consultant depending on the size and needs of a company.