Get to know your industry quick wins

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Having worked with several SMEs over the past six years, I have found it rather fascinating how few SMEs engage with market research and how few understand what it is and how it can benefit their business. There tends to be fear around Market Research and a perception that it is difficult to do. Yes, market research can be technical and very expensive, but this should not be a barrier to this excellent tool that guides business strategy. I always say that Market Research is your business GPS as it guides you on the best and fastest route. There are some quick wins we need to explore that yield results within a short period.

In our Market Research Solutions for Small Business workshop, we look at why it is so essential to understand your industry and leverage the quick wins this knowledge brings.

Below are four key areas we recommend you research to gain a better understanding of your industry and position your business for success.

Follow the money

    1. Value of industry

      • What is the value of your industry? How much is the market spending per annum on the goods or services you are selling?
      • What are the cyclical patterns that drive purchase and no purchase of the goods/services over the past five years?
      • What are the future forecasts on spending or the value of the industry? Is the industry growing or shrinking?
    2. Spending focus

      • Who are the principal beneficiaries of spending within the industry? Which companies?
      • What is driving customers to those companies?
        • What can you learn from them?
        • What differentiates them?

Get connected

    1. Industry bodies and organisations

      • Become a member of an industry body. Industry bodies educate and inform you about industry news and developments.
      • They help with compliance and legislation issues. Industry bodies expose you to benchmarks and industry standards.
      • They provide a network, support system and a pool of potential mentors. You get an opportunity to be exposed to training, technology and other developments within your industry.
      • They can help you contribute to debates, articles, webinars and other engagements which lead to marketing opportunities. They provide an easy way to introduce yourself to your peers that can be potential partners for strategic projects.
      • Reading and subscribing to industry publications keeps you informed about upcoming events, training and development opportunities.
    2. Industry events

      • Get to meet industry players
      • Network with peers and influencers
      • Learn the rules of engagement
      • Introduce yourself to the industry
      • Gather key insights on how to successfully position yourself among influencers within the industry

Get on the right side 

  1. Industry compliance and legislation

    • What laws govern the rules of trading within your industry
    • What compliance issues, certifications and other legalities are required before you start trading
    • Do you need patents and trademarking
  2. Impact of innovation and globalisation

    • How has technology changed over time within the industry? Where is the industry moving to in terms of innovation and technology advancement?
    • How has the advancement of technology impacted the South African market?
    • How far or how close are you to where the industry is?


    1. Potential barriers

      • What are the potential barriers to entering or growing the business?
      • What solutions do the barriers require?
      • What partnerships can I form to overcome barriers?
      • What other options are available to me to navigate the barriers?
      • What timelines am I setting to overcome the barriers?
    2. Who’s who in the zoo

      • Who are the key players and what is their positioning
        • What can I learn from industry leaders
      • Who are the industry laggards and what is their positioning
        • What can I learn from those who have failed
      • What are the opportunities for me and my business

Mpho Mpofu is the Managing Consultant of Masutane Consulting Services a Market Research agency based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mpho’s background experience spans across Consumer Relations , Brand development, Business Development and Market Research. A hunger for more, an entrepreneurial instinct, curiosity and a taste for risk eventually pushed Mpho to start her own business in 2007. Masutane Consulting has been successfully in operation since then and she has since launched Masutane Research Solutions that focuses on Market Research Solutions for Small Business. Visit:


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First published on: ForbesAfrica