Browsing the Web this morning I found The costs of fuzzy(!) market research from “Sounds + Food Retail.” I hadn’t seen this blog before, but I like what he’s saying about gathering information before you write your business plan. He focuses on food retail, but the idea of “fuzzy” research applies to a lot of businesses.
Author Vincent van Wylick defines fuzzy market research as “pre-qauntitative research.”
This becomes clearer as he gets into the details. What he calls fuzzy seems much the same as industry knowledge and experience:
It’s when you’re still trying to form a picture of the industry, your business, and your role in the whole thing.
That includes some way of understanding which demographics will be visiting your venue, the costs of running at a certain location, and other variables important to running your business.
Luckily, the most effective research method also happens to be the most profitable one: gaining experience. By getting a job or jobs in the industry, you’ll not only get to speak to insiders, but you’ll learn to focus on the stuff that really matters, will produce a better business plan, and gain more trust from investors, who value experience as much, or more than a good business-idea. And you get paid for doing it, how crazy is that? 😉
The second most effective research method is also quite cheap, the online-search and running this weblog. Not only is there a huge variety of free literature and media, like podcasts and videos, but, hopefully, as I record this here, smart people give me feedback on it too! For free (knock on wood).
Of course, there is no substitute for visiting places, talking to smart people in person, and reading quality literature.
So when you get right down to it, you want to know about the industry you’re looking to get into as you develop a plan. I like the “fuzzy market research” because it implies doing it yourself, learning, not conducting presumably expensive formal market research.