Effective business leaders determine problems, come to reasonable and effective solutions, predict new trends and develop products and services accordingly. While there are always great levels of uncertainty with any business projection, you can keep your research and decisions on the right track with systematic analysis and implementation methods.
Assess Current Business
Assess your current business situation. Your existing business environment is the foundation for developing research and development ideas. Review the cost of doing business compared to your revenues. If there are ways to cut costs, you may want to look into this. Competitors may be charging more for the same product. If your product is equivalent or superior, explore new price points that generate higher revenues.
Look at any problems that may exist within your existing business model. This may be a new technology being developed making your product obsolete in the near future. A new competitor may be opening within close proximity. Whatever the problem is, if you can identify it early or even predict it you can address it more effectively and improve your bottom line.
Create Research Methods
The method you choose will be determined by the problems assessed in the previous section. If you are exploring a new product market, you may want to start with census demographic data. If teenagers are your target market, know what your potential market numbers are in the community you serve.
If you want to know the value of a product or service or if a new design would be well received, perform consumer surveys conducted either in-house or through focus-group companies. You may be concerned about industry trends. Keep up by reading periodicals in your industry to stay on the cutting edge rather than lagging behind.
Determine an Action Plan
Create a plan that will implement the change. Major changes will probably need to be implemented over time. For example, if you anticipate a new computer infrastructure will save time within departments and free employees up for other duties, implement it in stages. Do this so employees can learn the new system without halting productivity.
Roll new products out in specific markets to limit financial exposure. If it succeeds, increase quantities. If the new product is not selling, go back to assessment: determine if your solution satisfied the need or if there is another problem with packaging or marketing. You shouldn’t abandon a poorly selling product right away. Whatever the change is, take the appropriate steps to do it properly. Research helps many to make the right choices, but is still not a guarantee to success. Be cautious through a deliberate action plan.