I am finally becoming adjusted to the importance of market research. In other words, what the hell are my competitors doing and how much are they charging? Not too long ago I ran my business with blinders, not caring or oblivious to what anyone was doing. The problem with this is that you have no idea of your market value, and how much to charge or not charge your clients.
Obviously you cannot just pick up your phone and ask your competitors how much they charge. (Though I have had many vendors posing as clients trying to get my pricing in a very sneaky way. Shame on you.)
So, for this week’s To Do list let’s try to work on my suggestions for gathering information in your area:
- If you want to find out pricing information from your competitors, it’s great to establish relationships with other vendors. I’ve found that vendors who aren’t direct competition can be a great fountain of pricing information.
- Thank God for Twitter and blogging. This did not exist in the old days (circa 1980 to 2000) the way it exists today. Check out at least two sites of your most admired competitors (mine are Mr. Collin Cowie and Mr. Daniel Ost) not to copy them, but to find out what services they offer that you do not, and how you can improve yours or do things differently.
- Your clients can also be a great source for market research. Even if you did not end up working with them, you can always ask what they were looking for that you could not provide. Also, if you belong to a church or any social group, ask a lot of questions from the members. I find that more folks are happy to give you information if they know it’s helpful.
How do you feel about gathering information on your competitors? Do you prefer setting your own rules and prices as I did in the beginning? Do you have any tips for getting information about what things cost in your area?