When you’re running a business, everything eventually comes down to the same discipline. Whether you’re hiring, designing products, pitching for a big contract, or even deciding which chairs to buy for the office, the skill you’re exercising is the ability to make the best use of your resources. While luck and connections do make an impact, someone without the judgement and decision-making ability to make the best of a chance meeting and the orders that might come with it won’t be able to deliver consistently, and will find their reputation in tatters and with no follow up orders.
Someone with the ability to see their available resources with clarity and deploy where they can generate the most returns can recover from unlucky circumstances and lack of initial contacts by demonstrating they can deliver a great service where it really counts.
The way to be sure you are making the best use of your resources is to rely on data. If you’re making your decisions based on your gut instinct you could well enjoy some success, but this is due to a combination of luck and experience. When you run into a situation where you don’t have any relevant experience for your instincts to work off, you’ll find they are not as acute as you may have thought.
To fuel your decision making process you need data, and this is the value of market research. Unlike investing in sales it doesn’t bring in new revenue directly. Unlike investing in customer service it doesn’t avoid loss and retain customers directly. But it does give you the data to make sure your decisions about expansion, new products and new hires will repay your investment with returns that will drive your growth into the future.
If you’re investing in growing your brand you need research that will provide the brand insight you need not only to decide where and how to invest your resources for the best effect, but also to measure success. If your efforts aren’t paying off you need to know about it as soon as possible so you can use this new information to reform your approach and spend your money where it will do the most good.
One of the only qualities shared by all the most successful CEOs and Founders is that they are guided by data. Informed decisions are good decisions, and while faith and confidence are invaluable they can’t stand in for genuine understanding.