Taking time to research

Author: Alex Leader
City Business Library Manager

Why is Market Research so important for my business?
Running a business can be hard work and then to find time to undertake research is always a challenge, meaning that despite how important market research is for all businesses at all stages – it can get pushed to the bottom of the list.

Market research should never be underestimated. Many successful new businesses enjoy longevity because they undertake regular market research to understand their target market, to understand what the key trends are in their industry and to identify potential markets for growth. Many business owners really underestimate the power that information can bring for their business. It’s by far the best way to keep up with market trends and maintain a competitive edge. Market research should be carried out at various stages of a business life cycle. Having a greater understanding of your marketplace from the very start will enable you to create a sound business strategy that can be developed and honed as your business grows.

It is vital that you understand who your customers are and what your competitors are doing. A business should not only anticipate change but be able to predict change too . That is why market research is so fundamental to the success of any business – you must to stay ahead of the game. As best quoted by Charles Darwin:

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

If this is not enough to convince you to up the ante with your market research, then the following  stats from the Office of National Statistics should be. They reported that 357,000 businesses failed in the UK between 2016-2017 which is an increase of 69,000 business deaths since the previous year. You really don’t want to be that person down the pub drowning your sorrows because your business has failed (and it’s  not a badge of honour to have a failed business – it’s  gut wrenchingly difficult).

So why don’t more entrepreneurs undertake market research?
Not enough time is the biggest reason that is quoted but the reality is that research can be boring for some people. If you are a creative/ideas person, the last thing you want to be doing is scrolling through endless data in some hot stuffy library. If this is your thought process, then you need to think again, as  the databases available at the City Business Library (CBL) are so easy to use, with  keyword searches and user guides. Plus, you can ask one of the team to point you in the right direction first (they love nothing more than finding information for customers, particularly if the request is an obscure one). No excuses, people!

Seriously though, access to affordable and reliable information is also another major factor preventing businesses for undertaking regular research. The databases that CBL subscribes  to cost £1000s commercially, meaning that for the average small business, they  are priced out. So, come and use them in CBL for free – it’s a no brainer!

Many businesses also find visiting a business library in the City of London difficult to access due to lengthy travel time and expensive travel costs. Plus, they want greater access to business information that works around their busy work schedule. Additionally, if you operate a business outside of London you are literally going to struggle to get the same access to the range of data that is available in CBL.

Recognising this demand, the team at CBL have been working hard to make their data more accessible. So, what does this actually mean?

CBL subscription membership – what’s in for me?
shutterstock_628571729The team at CBL are committed to providing small businesses across the UK with access to a wide range of business information and so will be launching a new subscription membership in February 2019 to provide remote access to a wide range of databases that customers can use from the comfort of their own home, office or even on the move. You can choose to buy a 6-month or 12-month membership and get remote access to the following databases:

The Fame database can help you create Business-to-business searches to find companies with specific profiles, and you can carry out detailed analyses on individual or groups of companies. You can Assess a company’s financial strength; Find companies by size, industry and location – you can combine hundreds of criteria; Find all companies in the same corporate “family” and look at complex organisational structures. Find companies who import and export, by commodity;

Compile a detailed picture of a company that includes background information, financial history plus relevant news, M&A deals and rumours; Analyse a company in relation to its peers. Includes company credit score ratings.

Global Trade Tracker
Global Trade Tracker provides you with detailed commodity trade statistics (value, volume, price) for over 110 countries. Contains monthly and yearly data from 2002 to date. You can search specific commodities and find out where they are currently traded, or you can find out what commodities are being traded between different countries. For countries not covered, there is ‘mirror reporting’, which uses the available data from the importing or exporting country, to estimate the data at origin.   It is estimated to cover over 95% of the global commodity trading. Uses the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).

IBISWorld includes comprehensive yet easy to digest reports on hundreds of industries. Each report consists of key statistics and analysis on market characteristics, operating conditions, current and historical performance, major industry participants and more. All of these can help you start your business and grow your business, by giving you essential information on both the current situation and the forecast for growth within each sector. The reports give practical information about how easy or difficult it can be to start a new business, and key elements to be aware of. Clear and easy to read charts will give you an idea of where you are likely to spend your money, helping you with your budget planning.   The iExpert Summaries condense key elements from the full Industry Reports into easy to absorb paragraphs, graphics and tables plus a Q&A section.

MarketLine Advantage
MarketLine Advantage is an interactive platform, giving you any time access to a unique mix of company, industry, financial and country business data, for every major marketplace in the world.

Extensive global coverage of industries with 4000 industry profiles and 30,000+ companies within 215 countries.

This database is great for SWOT analyses (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) which can help you identify your own SWOT analysis, which in turn helps identify your growth opportunities.

Great for anyone starting or growing a business.

Plus, you also get access to the following databases Law and Business, Cobra, Exporters Almanac, Business Source Premier and European Newstream.

If you really want to make your business a success, and  you want to keep ahead of your competitors through the power of market research, then this membership is worth every penny. Signing up is easy and payments will be taken online. Plus, your membership card will be posted out within 48 hours. You really won’t find this level of business information available remotely from anywhere else in the UK.


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