Small and Medium Sized Businesses – Developing Your Market Intelligence

Nearly every industry is signifcantly more competitive today that it was only a few years ago. Many companies focus on doing their thing a little bit faster or better than they did last year. But in today’s hyper-competitive environment that may not always be enough. We believe that there are three pillars of Business Intelligence that are given short shrift by many companies, and by ignoring these options, they put their company’s future in peril. The three pillars of Market Intelligence are Competitive Intelligence, Secondary Market Intelligence (syndicated or research that can be found or purchased on an given industry) and Primary Market Research – which is conducting research that is specifically designed to answer the questions that your business is grappling with – and that your competitors should never see (because it’s proprietary information).

COMPETITOR ASSESSMENT

It’s important to do a basic SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) on each of your key competitors to understand their positions in the market relative to that of your own company (financial position, apparent growth directions, likely profit margins and the threats that their business is facing). There are companies that specialize in gathering competitive information, and it’s pretty common to spend a couple of months and several thousand dollars to get a report on a number of key competitors. However, because the number of competitors is often very small, it’s often possible to do some gumshoeing on your own. When does your competitor open for business, when do they close, how many customers do they get in the morning, afternoon an evening, and how much does it look like they’re buying? Go in and ask them about their best selling product, buy one and see what they’ve got. You can also do a lot of this research via the web, or by the phone. Look at the city records to see who owns the land, have a realtor friend estimate what the rent would be like on that size building in that part of town. Look at the equipment they have, and the stock that that they carry, count the number of employees. You can probably do a pretty good job of estimating their revenue and even projecting their profit. It’s a good businessperson who has an idea of how their business stacks up.

SECONDARY MARKET RESEARCH

These are the companies that make their money by keeping tabs on the industry overall and try to understand which major competitors are doing well and which are in bad shape. Many can approximate market shares by talking to companies that provide raw goods or by talking to the channels that these companies sell through. Some of these analysts will estimate whether the overall business is growing or shrinking and are brave enough to project these numbers out for several years. The types of companies that track these industries include International Data Corporation, Dataquest, and don’t forget industry groups. Many of these reports are combined at one wonderful website that can help you quickly find reports on every industry under the sun – Market Research. This is probably the fastest place to find quality information on your industry overall, although it’s not free, unfortunately.

PRIMARY MARKET RESARCH

Once you know about your industry, you may decide that you’d like to know more about the specific products or services that you’re developing. Or maybe you just want to find out what kinds of customers are purchasing your products, how happy they are with them, or what their likelihood is of buying another product from you in the future. That’s where Primary Market Research comes in. Primary research entails a couple of dozen different methods of getting customers feedback, depending on what access they have to technology, where they are located in the world, the sensitivity of the topic and whether you think that group synergy would get you a better answer than you would by speaking to a customer one at a time. There are also a few unique methods to probe on other areas, for example there is “lost customer” research, which finds customers that purchased another company’s products and then probing on why they didn’t go with your products.

Anyway there are a number of ways to get at most any type of business issue that you have. Together these techniques can help a savvy business manager to ensure that they keep a finger on the puse of the market in which they operate – and thereby keeping their positiion in that market safer!

If You’re Looking For a Job, a Courier Business Could Literally Be Right Up Your Alley

A Courier Business isn’t just for Business

When most of us take into consideration what a courier enterprise is, we envision taxi-like automobiles or bicycles racing to and from downtown office buildings. It’s actually only a pickup and drop-off delivery service that can go beyond carrying documents and blueprints. You possibly can pick up and deliver anything.

What if somebody forgot to select up a wedding cake? What when you forgot one thing very important at the office your late to the airport on the way to a business trip? What if your automotive is in the shop?

What if you’re brief on time and low on gasoline cash? And, what if there was somebody you might call in a pinch to help you out? Would it be worth the price? Let’s see.

Why a Courier Enterprise is a Great Business Idea

When you’ve been on the lookout for a fairly straightforward and inexpensive small business to start, think about a metropolis- or town-vast courier business.

What number of occasions have you ever wished you owned a homing pigeon to magically seem to pick up a parcel and have it fly off to be quickly delivered to a recipient?

For instance, my daughter lives about 30-minutes’ drive from me and it’s hard to coordinate our schedules to swing by one another’s houses to pick up or drop off something right away. The mail, even going priority, takes about three days to just go across town and that’s not always a workable option. If I want something rapidly from her or she needs one thing from me, dropping everything to drive to drop something off is normally out of the question.

Breaking Down the Value of Offering a Courier Service

So, let’s break it all the way down to see if a courier or delivery service would be something individuals would use and well worth the money (to them).

Utilizing myself as an example, and if I wanted to get something to my daughter quickly:

1. I might have to drop everything I’m doing (this can be a huge deal) to prepare to head her direction.

2. Per #1, time is money. My time is valued at roughly $30 per hour as a contract writer. A journey to my daughter’s home is roughly 1 hour round-trip.

3. Gas. At the current price of gasoline, it would run me roughly $6.50 for the trip. I have a great economical car; however, there’s quite a lot of uphill driving to her house.

In a nutshell, we’re at about $36.50 for this “little delivery.”

Would I pay somebody $25 bucks to do it? Absolutely. My drawback is that there isn’t an “angel courier” in my area.

Profits and Bills for a Courier

If I were to start out a courier business in my town, I’d analysis, research, analysis: What would be essentially the most in demand? What would homeowners like? Would I need a business license? I would definitely read up on a courier business or other great business ideas on-line before I went running headlong right out of the gate. I would additionally buy loads of maps. In my very own case, I have a GPS, so that would make going to and from locations fairly easy.

I would additionally carry my cellphone (who is aware of what I’d pick up along the way throughout a pickup or delivery) and, being a woman, carry my trusty pepper spray gun (who knows who I would stumble into). I might also set hours of operation I could feasibly honor.I might buy a ton of business cards and create flyers. I would additionally consider placing an advert or two in the local newspaper or online classifieds site.

I might in all probability begin out with the $25 charge I figured earlier as a guide. I may reduce that rate significantly by running pickups and deliveries “on the best way” to the places going to and coming from. I would maintain my Kia in prime shape and hold good mileage and gas records. Since my husband is a manager for a tire company, I’d have those at a discount.

I determine starting out that I might in all probability clear about $50-$75 for four-6 hours of driving round if I worked my pickups and deliveries right. Not too shabby. A courier is business is sounding better with every tap of the keyboard. I ought to call my unemployed son-in-law…

Kick Starting Your Courier Service Business

If you have a courier business you can measure your sales a variety of ways, but it will always boil down to money and how much of it is coming in and how much of is profit.

So what do you do when you don’t have enough? How do you grow your existing client base?

When you don’t have enough business, that is the time you review your business plan. If we are being honest with yourself, you should review it at least quarterly. You can see where your business is compared to your targeted sales projection. You can then start looking at reasons why your sales have dropped off. In this article we shall touch on a few reasons, but it’s not a comprehensive article, let’s face it it would be the size of a library as there are so many variables.

  1. Change of staff, staff who move on in key sales roles may cause a sales dip this can sometimes be avoided by forward planning.
  2. Change of vehicles. If you have upgraded or downgraded your vehicles capacities recently you may find that has a significant impact on sales.
  3. Change of a website, changing your website or email address if done by an amateur can cost you sales simply by not being found.
  4. Competition – in two ways the competition can affect your sales. Your failure to differentiate from it and your failure to notice it.

Competitors can actually help grow your courier business, if theyhave different methods of business don’t think by copying them you will get their business – it doesn’t work like that. But there is nothing to stop you subcontracting their work and helping them grow, as you will also grow. Love thy competitor should have been the 11th commandment.

Talk to your customers, find out what their market conditions are like, if they are having a tough time think on what you can do to help.

  • Promote them on your website, write a customer profile about what they do and promote them to your website’s readers.
  • Think about who you interact with that may be looking for that kind of service and make an introduction.
  • Be genuinely interested in their business, they are your customer after all and helping them where you can creates a stronger bond.

Of course the easiest way to grow your courier business is to sell to your existing customer base additional services, the fastest and most economically viable way is through a newsletter – when was the last time you sent one out?

Hopefully this article will have given you some ideas on how to boost the sales in courier business es. Let me know how you get on.