Executive Summary For every new business starter, a very critical task is to access comprehensive information and professional advices prior entering the market. Because human are not almighty, targeted research within predefined market segments must be conducted in term of extracting valuable information from massive data. The new entrepreneurs, therefore, would use analytical research outcome of market data to integrate with the advices from gurus, to blueprint the venture and support decision making in every stage of the business.
This report suggested market research as the main approach to receive accurate market information for the business plan composition. There are different focuses in market research to help business owners understanding market environment, economy environment and so on. Different ways of getting market data for research have also provided in this report. Most of the time entrepreneurs will seek helps from experts too, especially when exploring a new market. Professional opinions and suggestions will be received throughout the business start-up phase. There is a need to have an experienced coach or mentor for those novices in the area.
Different types of business consultant can be chosen on planning the new venture. Various sources of free advice are also available, which provided by governments or agencies. It is a good way to go in term of cut some cost on ‘one to one’ consultations. The method of market research and type of advice obtaining need to be determined based on the availability of fund and the actual business case. It is recommended that business executives finding the most suitable way to collect information and advices after knowing the ‘pros and cons’ of each method. Introduction
People are curious, so people ask questions. Different types of questions incessantly appear every day, everywhere. Berlyne (1960) stated curiosity is related to our emotions and natural behaviour such as exploration, investigation, and learning. It is evident by observation in human race and many animal species. Beswick (2000) believes curiosity, and other bridged studies such as intrinsic motivation have been accepted as participating in a wide extent of human nisus. Curiosity contributes into the innovations of sciences obviously, and it has important roles in industries of which need o be fuelled by creativity and sustainable developing. In business area, curiosity matters too. Before any business started, smart founders and executives will seek chances to acquire information and advices from various sources. When they drafting a business plan they want to listen to others’ opinions and borrow others’ experiences, which support and strengthen the plan. Business owners tend to know if people are interested willing to spend money on their products or services. They want to find out and understand their competitors in the marketplace and, after all, whether the market can sustain their business.
In one word, people need information and advices for their decision making to enter the market. Aims and purpose of this report This report is to demonstrate the different ways that business executive can use to access information and advice in the early stage of forming a business especially in process of composing a business report. The report categories information and advices into sub-segments such as market research and consultations. Both classic methods and modern methods will be discussed. Examples will be given to help on understanding different methods.
Factors In modern age, most insiders of commerce sector would agree that market research – to access actual data, and consultations – to apply concepts/theories, are two common practices to gather information and advices before launch of a business. They realised the roles of information and advices are becoming greater, especially in the early stage of a business venture. McGrath and MacMillan (2000) defined different entrepreneurial mindsets and the characteristics of these mindsets such as stocking the opportunity register and targeting the best opportunity.
But all those mindsets are not come from fantasy. Entrepreneurs use actual data to support decision making and knowledge with experiences to guide their journey of business ventures. Source of information The following sections in this report will categories information and advice to start discussion. Market research The market research practice was initially implicated by the rise of statistical science. It began to be conceptualised and some practices have been conducted during the 1920s (Stigler, 1990) In today’s changeable markets uncertainty becomes the norm. Quality and timely market research are desired and vital than before’, stated by Platt and Barista (2010). Market research involves gathering, analysing and evaluating information to help business owners formulate business goals. The contents of market research can be divided into different segments based on different focuses. Many researchers prefer PESTLE analysis while others may choose Porter’s 5 forces analysis or S. W. O. T analysis. But the outcome or purposes are generally similar: ? Understand market demand by study consumer behaviours in terms of product development and improvement. Finding opportunities and niche in market. ?Define business model and revenue model ?Understand rivals by analyse their products, price, promotion methods and market response. ?Understand market status by observation and evaluations. Help to define specific marketing strategy and decision making. ?Calculate the capital required and financial strategy. ?Analyse industry trends to achieve sustainable growth and strengthen brand value. Sources of market data Market researchers will collect data via assorted approaches. Comparatively speaking, some method are classic, while other methods are modern.
Classic methods The name, classic method, is self-explanatory, that is, an integration of ways that have employed by many people for a long time. This report identified 3 major sources: paper based publications, survey and government department. Library/Journal/Newspaper Needless to speak, library is the best place where people always go to find historical data and marrow of experiences from ancestors. Libraries have long history and reputation; therefore, people look at libraries as the symbol of history and the aggregation of knowledge. Books and journal articles are available.
The advantage of doing business plan by using library source is to access accurate result, which approved by long time research. Many authors are recognised by academia. One of the disadvantage is the difficulty on search in materials, unless those books and journals have been read many times, The other big disadvantages of composing a business plan in library is the effectiveness of time, as most of the publications are based on analysis of historical data which collected in a long period of time, while the situation or environment may change from time to time. However, libraries are not always conservative.
Some of them are trying to catch the steps of the age and put more effort on collect up to date information so people are getting more and more newer information from libraries. For instance, ABC news (2010) reported The Library of Congress in the United Stated announced that it plans to archive ‘tweets’ messages on Twitter since Twitter launched 4 years ago. Billions of messages will be saved into digital records. Newspapers seems always arrive with latest information timely. However, they are hard to store after a period of time. And authors are less authoritative in some cases.
The biggest issue is the facticity of words on newspaper. Survey or questionnaires Survey or questionnaires have also been broadly adopted in term of data collection for decades. By using this method, data is collected and received directly from consumers. It is a form of interact with consumers. The challenge of traditional survey or questionnaires method is how much data are genuine and how to transform raw result into analytical summary. This is because not everyone willing to share the true feelings in front of other people and it requires an experienced statistician to analyse their research data. Government department
To access data from authority such as government department is always a good idea. Governments are spending time and money to collect data and provide statistics to public. The mission statement explains why we should go on this way. ‘We assist and encourage informed decision making, research and discussion within governments and the community, by leading a high quality, objective and responsive national statistical service. ’ – Australian Bureau of Statistics The beauty of access information from government departments like Australian Bureau of Statistics is the high accuracy and authoritativeness of the data result.
But also, the disadvantage is the timeliness. Modern methods Not every business owner or market researcher prefers the traditional path to find the light. Information technology contributes data collections process accompanied the booming of the Internet in late 1990s. The aim and purpose of perform market research on the Internet, for example, online survey or questionnaires, are same as traditional methods. But there are several unique characteristics according to Bradley (2006): 1. Sharing and timeliness on online data.
The information on internet can be delivered to end users expeditiously. Everyone can participate and view the result. 2. Easy of online research and low cost. Especially for large corporations and organisations, online research may save millions of dollars and resources compare to classic methods 3. The accuracy and objectivity of the result. Informants are voluntary and they only select the survey to fill as they have interests in the topic of discussion and they normally give their real opinion. 4. There is no limitation of time and location.
Online research can run 24/7 and collect data globally, while traditional methods can only cover in one period of time and location. 5. The verifiability and controllability. The attached explanations of good designed online survey can eliminate the deviation which caused by misunderstood of the topic or the inconformity between different researchers. Also, the ‘double check’ and validation are performed by computers based on pre-set conditions and control arrangements automatically. More deeply, model for identity-authentication is an effective way to prevent fraud during the information collection.
There are also different ways online research can be done: Email, survey on website, online Delphi Method, statistic of webpage visits and search engine (McQuarrie, 2005). The search result will be stored into database. But, like methodology has its weaknesses, online researches are no exception. Online research services provider DSS research summarised some bad things about online research. ?It is hard to insure answers of the questions come from desired group of people. ?The result sometimes not representing the bigger population as most frequent Internet users are younger and computer literate. Hard to perform survey which is long. People are not patient on the Internet. ?There is no ‘mainstream’ methodology of online research has been conceptualised yet. ?Hard to motivate people to participate. Research organisers are still finding different ways to reward people. Sources of Advices Whilst conducting market research to acquire data, business proprietors also need to know how to interpret and evaluate these data. To be on the safe side, they may want to hear from professionals and experts directly and listen to them explaining theories and experiences about running a business.
The ‘most wanted’ advices may include: Strategy Advices, Sales and marketing advices, financial advices, HR advices and technical advices Consultation Different forms of consolations are great helps to draw a picture of the business. Normally, business consultants are either very experienced – they have established their own business successfully, or have helped others to gained ‘the first bucket of gold’, or they are more academic – they know many theories and can teach business owners how to apply these theories into practice.
To identify the right consultant and who have the correct expertise required in the specific case is important and difficult sometimes. Cost is another issue to consider when goes to a business consultant. Consultations can be carried out privately or in public. Certain industry associations and government agencies are there to provide exceptional services. Business events According to Australian business community, workshops and seminars for small business are being held on regular basis in most states of Australia.
These events address questions from various areas of running a business, such as business planning, financial management, innovations and HR management. Business executives are encouraged to attend networking events to expend the business. By developing networks, businessmen will receive up-to-date information of the industry, sharing skills with other people and use the opportunity to promote their businesses through new contacts. Other ways to get advices There are other paths to access advices other than consolations and attend business events.
Australian business community website listed a number of ways which entrepreneurs can access advices. ?Make a phone call to Small Business Support Line can access information, assistance and referral services. ?Tax support and advice from the ATO ?Check if there is grant from local governments. ?Contact local Business Enterprise Centre. ?Area Consultative Committees are providing information of government priorities and programs to rural area business. ?New Enterprise Incentive Scheme. ?Enterprise Network for Young Australians. ?Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research website.
Conclusion and recommendations To conclude, people are curious but people are not encyclopedia. When conduct business activities, particularly to start up a new business, new entrepreneurs need some help to plan their ventures. Before any business established, summarised data about external environment, economy environment, market and social-culture must be obtained via analytical methods. Every aspects of a business need expertise and data to support decision making. It is recommended that business executives try different ways on procurement of information and advices.
Market research is the most recommended approach in this report , as it is effective to obtains market data. Market research can be performed in either classic ways or newer ways. Entrepreneurs are also recommended to seek advices from expert consultations or government programs. Outside these 2 main sources, many other agencies are available to help. However, certain disadvantages and limitations are attached to each method or information and advice gathering. Practitioners are suggested to only adopt most suitable methods to collect data and advice based on actual business case.
References Berlyne, D. E. ,1960. ‘Conflict, Arousal, and Curiosity’, McGraw Hill, New York. Beswick,D. ,2000,’An Introduction to the Study of Curiosity’, A presentation at St Hilda’s College Senior Common Room, Centre for Applied Educational Research, University of Melbourne Bradley, N. ,2006,’Marketing Research: tools and techniques’, OUP Oxford McGrath, R. G. and MacMillan, I. 2000, ‘Needed an entrepreneurial mindset’, chapter 1 in The Entrepreneurial Mindset, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Ma. McQuarrie, E. F. 2005, ‘The market research toolbox: a concise guide for beginners’, 2nd ed. , Sage Publications Stigler, S. M. , 1990, ‘The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900’, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Rowe,G. , Wright,G. , 2001,’Expert Opinions in Forecasting. Role of the Delphi Technique’. In Principles of Forecasting: A Handbook of Researchers and Practitioners,Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston. Platt,E. , Barista,D. , 2010,’7 Questions About Market Research’, Professional Builder, Vol. 75 Issue 2, p39-42.
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