Online research for small businesses: relevance and importance

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Online research is vital for the growth of any business, particularly small enterprises that need to utilize their limited cash reserves in the best possible manner to stay ahead of the competition. Market information is most regularly and most widely published on the Internet, requiring expert eyes to keep track of. In this regard, the difference between success and failure can be determined by one factor: do you have a specialist in online research who can keep you abreast of every new industry happening? If you are that person yourself, nothing better; otherwise, it is wise to hire a virtual assistant for the job.

Online research – how do you plan ?

Online research, as straightforward as it sounds, is far from so in reality. It requires great knowledge of which online locations generally feature the relevant information and how to shift through the myriad unrelated results that any web search is likely to throw up. Performing optimized web searches it is a matter of skill. Once this is adequately handled, either through your own experience or by outsourcing, you will find that the data or information you need to plan your next business step is always at hand.

Let me discuss a situation :

Say, for instance, you own a small travel agency that deals in flight bookings. Lately your business has bloomed and you are suddenly flooded with loads of paperwork that you are simply incapable of handling. How do you react?

First of all, your online research will tell you that a company that experiences a windfall usually steps up a run in the business ladder. A different, more structured approach is now required to handle its day-to-day activities. A simple Google or Bing search will earn you advice on this matter from industry experts. Once you have made this realization, you might want to learn how your similarly-placed competitors are handling their situations. This requires a more sophisticated hand, as it is not easy to glean company information. Specialists in online research know which repositories contain the relevant company details, including operational models. Such research can help you decide which among your competitors are dealing with sudden business growth better than the others, and what measures you can adopt to emulate them.

Online market research – a great value addition to small business owners :

For a small business, spending on the administrative and logistical costs of actual, physical-world research that includes making phone-calls or visiting competitors, arranging for meetings with prospective partners or clients, etc. al., is not practical. Online research does not cost anything apart from the Internet Service Provider’s charges, which are pittance compared to the advantages gained from the information the research reveals. By making accurate predictions based on expert online market research, for example, you can decide how to price your products, or which consumer categories to target for better profit margins. Further, you can even determine future market trends to strategize and time the expansion of your small business.

To sum it up, online research translates into administrative, financial and strategic advantages for small businesses. It is a cost-effective and efficient technique, experienced application of which will stand your small business in good stead. Spend some time getting good at it, or simply hire a specialist to do it for you. In the end, your research on the Internet will help you build a bigger and more profitable company.

About Author :
Gobinda Roy is the Founder of Ennovation Consulting and has been involved in online research, Industry research and sales consulting for over 14 years. He is alumnus of India’s premier Institute IIT Kharagpur and has over 12 years of corporate experience. . He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing online and marketing research strategies for companies in the US , Australia , UK and across Europe. He is co-founder of Lakshay Foundation and mentor at India’s top Business School CIIE, IIM Ahmadabad.

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