Yesterday I facilitated a workshop on market research for a group of farmers seeking to diversify into new businesses related to conventional farming. At the end of the session – we were discussing evaluation forms. One of the participants said “I hate those bloody forms!”. I asked him to continue. Interestingly, he didn’t talk about the content of the forms. It was more the context within which they were used. His experience was that they were treated flippantly – that they were “thrown in a box”. He also spoke about how they’re typically a “rush job” – … Continue reading

Posted on by Brendan

Are you available to your customers? Can they reach you by phone? Can they expect a return call within a reasonable timeframe? Or are you like companies such as Google, Facebook or Twitter who make it notoriously difficult to talk to a human being? (There’s a great article on those companies’ approaches here.) Now if you’re big enough you might be able to get away with it. Or if you’re like Ryanair and you’re overtly marketing on price then you may get away with it. But most of us are not in a position to effectively say … Continue reading

Posted on by Brendan

Do you ask your customers how you’re doing? If not then that might be something for you to think about! Even if you do though ask for their assessment of your company’s performance – do you hear what they’re saying? Or do you ignore what they say, congratulate yourself that you’ve ticked that box and move on? If you do hear what they say do you really listen? Be humble and look at things from their perspective? Avoid being defensive and see if there’s anything in what they’re saying that you can use? There is real value … Continue reading

Posted on by Brendan

I was having a coffee recently with a colleague and we got around to talking about the causes of business failure. Obviously the environment is severe – with customers buying less and with credit harder to come by. But another reason for business failure is that some businesses were never viable to begin with. The owners started these businesses without assessing viability – without carrying out market research. My colleague then used a turn of phrase that stuck with me – he said that the “whole country is a monument to the absence of market research”. (Our … Continue reading

Posted on by Brendan