Thursday, 29 March 2012
TODAY'S GUEST BLOGGER IS......
Caroline Nash of Carolee Crafts
Thank you Caroline for being a guest blogger in my Friday Guest Blogger spot; I know everyone will enjoy your chosen topic:
Market research can be hard to the uninitiated and you often take the path of least resistance or effort, ie friends and relatives, they ooh! and ahh! over what you have made, say you are clever and wonderful and you think that is it, I can now sell. Hold on, it's not that easy. Friends and relatives are not the best line to take, you need to know what the buying public think; the number of times I have seen this happen to crafters who having been given a build up, they trot along to a fair full of confidence then by the end of the day they are deflated as no one has bought a sausage. The recriminations are 'what am I doing wrong?' 'do they not understand me?' 'what is wrong with these people?' 'is what I am doing no good?'
Not all these thoughts will be followed by a yes, but if market research is done some of the pitfalls may be eliminated, so my suggestion is that you need a focus group. Now these are hard to find but if you look around there are a lot of womens' business groups that meet once or more a month, they may or may not have crafters in the group but that is better as you want a varied spread of opinions.
1. Find a group of business meetings - I have a few in my area such as Ladies Who Latte and Coffee and Connect. Check the meeting requirements, contact the organiser to introduce yourself and explain that you would like to do a bit of research to start/progress your business. would that be okay? If the answer is yes, which 9 times out of 10 it will be, you are on the first rung.
2. Make, say, 12 key pieces (no more or it gets boring) that you are considering and ensure they are made to a high standard cutting no corners.
3. Label each piece will full details, if can be washed, colours suggested, but no prices at this stage.
4. Prepare a survey form with a section for each item and about 3 questions: ie Would you buy this product? What would you pay? (at this point list 3 price options with the middle one being what you think it want it to sell for) and the final one, what do you think of this item and could it be improved?
5. You could offer a lucky-dip by numbers to win an item for those participating; you may find they are more likely to fill out the form if they will get something at the end.
6. Do not read the feedback until you get home, have a box with a slit for the forms to be put in; that way people will not feel embarrassed if they have been negative.
7. When you get home sit down with a cup of tea and sort through the forms, read carefully
and accept that some will be negative. Compile a spreadsheet per item with the feedback to make it easier to read and understand the results. Then make a decision how to progress.
It may be worth doing, say, 3 - 4 of this type of research at different groups to build up a more accurate idea. If it is all doom and gloom just go back to the drawing board and repeat with new ideas or if positive you have been successful and what you are doing is on the right track.
I hope this helps and remember it should be done throughout as your business progresses when you want to introduce new ideas as easier to make one of something and discard than a dozen and fail to sell.