08 March 2006

Using Research to help your business

Research is important, but depending on how you want to use the results, the cost needn't be astronomic. If it is simply a test of the attractiveness of the product or service then a focus group may well be an appropriate solution. If you need to create a formal model to correctly scale your manufacturing, service and distribution resources then get your statisticians lined up now.
  • Testing potential customers. This sounds expensive, but it is rarely as expensive as getting it wrong. Customer testing can be high cost if it is carried out on statistically valid samples using formal statistical analysis. The reality is that commercial truths can emerge at much smaller sample sizes - focus groups can provide excellent insights into the attractiveness of a new product or service.
  • Testing potential sales and distribution channels. Once again, this sounds expensive – but the quality of the information can be invaluable in terms of understanding pricing and positioning against alternative products. This kind of testing has plenty to offer software developers, manufacturers and service providers.
We believe that research is important and the question is not whether you can afford it, but how much can you afford? The budget will determine the kind of research you undertake and that will impact on the statistical validity of the findings. Don’t let those things hold you back. Research is nearly always a good idea, providing you have done some homework first to make sure that you are asking the right questions of the right group of people.


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