You might think that to become an expert in your industry it will take years of experience and a deep wallet to fund all the research that you need access to in order to drill down into the details and form a solid opinion.
Taking a look through the detailed data available at Money Morning for example, you can quickly get an idea that conducting research and staying ahead of the competition by spotting trends and openings, doesn’t have to set you back a small fortune.
Here is a look at how to go about conducting industry research like a pro, without spending loads of dough.
Mastering the process
You only have to see the different approach that students take when revising for an upcoming exam, to understand that many of us could potentially have access to the same level of information, but it is knowing where to look and how to interpret and use the data, that can make all the difference.
You can apply that same logic to researching a particular industry sector. You need to establish a process that works, so that the time you spend and what little financial resources you apply, give you the biggest return on your investment of time and money.
Whatever business sector you are in, it is almost certainly going to be a highly competitive environment where you need to be able to understand your target audience, what your rivals are up to, and a whole range of other aspects such as identifying key business trends, so that you can gain an edge and stay one step ahead of the competition.
This is why you need to devise and then implement a viable and workable industry research strategy that delivers results.
Target the right information
When you start your research you will quickly reach a conclusion that there is a lot of data that you can potentially gain access to, which is why you need to be disciplined about it and set some clear goals on how you target the right information.
Defining a specific set of goals, so that you know exactly what you want out of your research efforts, will save you a lot of time and money.
Once you have decided what specific industry research data that you want to target, this will make your task a lot easier, as you won’t waste valuable time searching through information that you know does not match your chosen criteria.
Research your competition
If there is one common feature amongst many successful businesses, it is the fact that the majority of them spending time evaluating and understanding their competition.
Monitoring your competitors on a regular basis can give you a good idea of their strengths and weaknesses.
It is always going to be your main priority to focus on what your business is doing more than anything else, but obtaining competitive intelligence, such as the financial strength of a rival business, planned product launches and other key aspects that could be useful for you to know, will often help you to run a tighter ship yourself and potentially gain that all-important competitive edge.
Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners will no doubt agree, that keeping a close eye on your rivals is actually a great strategy for growing your own business.
Keep your finger on the pulse
You need to try and set up a system where a lot of the news and information that could be useful to you, comes to you rather than you having to find it.
The way to do this is to register for as many relevant free news alerts as possible, give out your email for regular industry updates from suitable sources, and keep connected via social media sites like Twitter, so that any real-time data and news, gets to you as soon as it is tweeted, released by the press, or however else it is being delivered.
Get the backup of a trusted source
The issue with doing simple research via a search engine like Google or through a third-party website, is that you don’t always know just how accurate or reliable the story or data actually is.
If you are going to spend some money on your research, it would be a good idea to develop a relationship with a trustworthy third-party source who collates industry information and has a reputation for accuracy and quality of data.
Being able to mine these valuable insights will allow you to build stronger marketing and sales strategies, armed with the sort of research data that can only prove to be a positive asset in your plans to drive the business forward.