This Week In Business: Market Research Intensified

This week felt for some reason like it was going in a million different directions. It could be that a lot of projects are taking off and in addition, I am trying to keep working on my two big projects for my business itself (the video and the business plan).

Here’s what happened:

I got two new clients to sign on the dotted line, and three I’m waiting on.
I think every business gets to the point where you are growing (finally!) but need to adjust to the growth (darn it!) I am happy to be finally tackling this issue.

I was counseled by SCORE and realized a fun way to get my marketing research done accurately.
As I’ve been writing my business plan, the market research portion has somewhat eluded me. Sure, I know about how many businesses are in the Downeast Area thanks to directories and can get some demographics from the US Census but what is actually useful to me? Anyone can throw a bunch of numbers into a report and look smart.

Thing is I’m not filling space on a ten page college paper here; I am going to use this document to make decisions, both now and down the road.

It was clear that in addition to any kind of numbers and information I could find online, I had to get on my duff and ask people questions. This is fine, I thought, I have friends who have small businesses. ‘Don’t just ask your friends; they are going to tell you what you want to hear!’ warned a few random websites. Good point.

When I talked to my gal Anne at SCORE, she urged me to find a way to ask random people the questions I needed answers to. She suggested taking out a newspaper ad, which she said may or not get me a response. Since she was at one point marketing person, and since I only want to do things that are mostly a sure bet, I asked her:

“What about if I stood on a street corner and asked people? Did you find from your marketing days that responses in those kind of situations were skewed compared to something more passive, say, having someone fill out a survey or taking out a newspaper ad?”

She said all polling was inherently skewed but that I would get A LOT of information if I had the nerve to do actually do the streetcorner bit.

So I am going to pick a day next week and do it. I guess not being shy has its benefits, mainly in the way of getting the information I need!

Anne also helped me with a few other issues during our hour long talk. She also assured me I was a lot further along in planning then other business owners she’s worked with. She also said to let her know when I was doing my polling next week so she could stop by. I like her!

I switched my web hosting to a local company.
A small change but if a priority of my business is to buy local, this is moving me closer to that. My website is now hosted by Svaha, which should make no difference to you web visitors but does put more money into my local economy.

Their price is comparable price to my old hosting, plus they can buy domain names cheaper than Network Solutions. Nice!

I published a few articles elsewhere.
It is recommended to publish articles in print and on other websites as a free way to get publicity around your business and build some credibility/brand recognition. I get that, and since I fancy myself as a bit of a writer, I wrote a few and sent them out.

This month, the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce ran a guest column for me about monitoring your business’ online reputation and the BudgetsAreSexy blog ran a guestpost I wrote about the realities of starting your own business (I am going back and reading the comments on this post whenever I need a boost!).

My site traffic has increased and, having not done anything else differently this week, I am attributing it to my additional publications.

And almost as if reading my mind, Carl at MaineBusiness shared this link on Twitter about 9 ways to market yourself for free or cheap.

A busy and happy week at Breaking Even Communications. I hope yours is going equally well!

Nicole Ouellette
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she's not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

2 Responses to “This Week In Business: Market Research Intensified

  • Biased but honest. Yes, I would say I’m biased to your abilities but I also have to say I read a few blogs. I really do think yours is the best. I love the idea of understanding a budget, getting awesome crafty ideas and seeing a few oustanding shots of Maine, some darn cute pets and of course YOU! Love ya”

  • Yaay! I will continue to predict that this business shall grow and kick even more ass.

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