24th, November, 2017

Market research and your customer base: essentials for business expansion

The next phases of expansion within any business usually fit into a few key categories: physical growth in terms of premises, additional staff, generating a greater customer base, or exploring product offerings. Which one is right for a particular business must depend entirely on that individual enterprise, and comprehensive market research.

As well as the above, there may also be routes for expansion that are particular to the sector that a business sits within. These can be a little risky as the main customer base must never be forgotten,  and businesses can’t afford to look as though they are mimicking the competition.

On the more ‘usual’ front, a business with a single base may benefit from taking on a secondary unit, i.e. retail, or investing more in online services. Local expansion may put a business into a more healthy position when it comes to thinking more broadly, but the risks with physical premises is that there must be an appetite for that business’s services within that location.

When collating market research results focused on a particular expansion plan, business-owners should be prepared for the idea that the results may push them in the opposite direction to where they were hoping.

For example, if research from a potential customer base suggests that there is no desire for a particular business type in a geographical area, or if the general consensus on a company rebrand plan doesn’t conjure up the required associations and feelings, it doesn’t pay to ignore it.

This is also true of introducing new ideas to a main customer base; if a new product idea or adjustment to current service offerings doesn’t sit well with the majority of current customers, the odds are they won’t be popular if implemented. Think the equivalent of Blockbuster Video ignoring the opportunity to buy Netflix.

If this ends up being the case then businesses must respect any findings and re-evaluate plans, perhaps undertaking another round of market research to establish what its main strengths and weaknesses are, according to its customer base. This relationship is a vital one for current performance, and any future plans.

At Lockwood and Rann Investments Limited, we share our knowledge of Learning and Development, HR, Legal, Marketing, Digital and Finance with entrepreneurs in small to medium healthcare and recruitment business.

To find out more about our services, contact our team on 01225 326 390 or enquiries@lockwoodandrann.com