Running a business requires constant research. It’s this research that inspires you to improve your business by trying out new methods and getting rid of others. The internet is a gold mine of information – your curiosity may have caused you to stumble across this very blog post. You can go crazy on the internet taking advice from anyone – which can have its risks. That’s why it’s important to only take inspiration from the right places. Here are some of the best ways of using the internet for inspiration.
Customer feedback is the best way of getting to know what’s right and wrong about your business. If your trying to prevent feedback – or worse, ignoring it – you’re failing to give your market what it wants. You don’t have to open yourself up to public criticism (although sites like Trip Advisor and comparison sites are making this increasingly harder) and could encourage reviews through personal surveys to clients and private reviews from professionals such as surveyors and website reviewers. All of this will give you a clear indication of how to improve your business.
Website and social media analytics tell you who is searching for your services. This includes key factors about their demographics such as age, gender, location and in some cases the keyword and search engine they used. This can allow you to target your marketing at certain areas and groups of people. Google Trends is a useful open analytics program that can help you understand what people are searching for. This may be useful for telling you when a product or service is most in demand so that you can start pushing this product or service at this particular time. Use this in conjunction with other analytics tools to get a clearer all-round idea of your market.
Finding out what has made other business owners successful, may inspire you to do the same. Most successful people aren’t shy to talk about their successes, you can find a number of TED talks and articles online. There are also sites aimed specifically at business – for example, check out this resource on fivehundredstories.com.
You can also get inspired by what your competition is doing. Ignoring them may lead them to undercut you on certain prices and provide services that you don’t. Whilst you shouldn’t try to imitate your competition, you can try and use them to single yourself out and make your business more appealing. Promote services that they don’t offer, or offer the same services at a fraction of a price. Read public reviews of their service to get an idea as to what they’re doing wrong so that you can do it right. Similarly, you may be able to steal a few ideas and put your own twist on them. With everyone now owning a website and social media, eying up the competition has never been easier.