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Opinion and commentary on financing and nurturing the growth of entrepreneurial enterprises in the innovation economy.

Richard Halpern

Doing the Right Research Improves Business Success

by Richard Halpern
President, Halpern Info Services
Frankin, MA


The right research can go a long way toward improving business operations, building better products and becoming more competitive.  Research is an essential part of any company’s planning and program function, as it removes uncertainty and risk factors, replacing it with knowledge and understanding.   Well-sourced information, continuously updated becomes knowledge that makes significant difference in the success or failure of any business.

Research into competitors, market segments, prices, trends, regulatory and legal issues, technological developments and advances are all suitable topics for businesses.  While it would seem that in today’s competitive market, business research and reporting are necessary, as much as finances or information technology, not everyone subscribes to this view.

Experienced researchers know not just where to search but how to search, saving time and money, and uncovering relevant and specific information in a timely manner.

A couple of cases in point …

When a leading Massachusetts-based contract medical manufacturer, Optimum Technologies, Inc., needed a preliminary assessment of a market entry point for a new light-emitting optical cancer detection technology, CEO & Founder, Randy Chinnock, turned to Halpern Info Services to assemble a team of expert information research professionals to do the project. The team collaborated on a script for recruiting and interviewing physicians to hone in on perceived advantages of, and concerns about, optical-based breast cancer diagnostics compared to existing practices. Chinnock confirmed "previous attempts to extract meaningful results from physicians were not attained before the employment of professional researchers."

Halpern Info Services' contribution led to the creation of a new company spin-off from Optimum Technologies Inc. That company will commercialize "optical biopsy" which allows instant diagnosis of cancerous tissue -- without excision.

Business research is not just for start-ups or spin-outs; small and large firms alike use research for competitive gain.

One of the country’s premier wholesale financial services firms requested a competitive brand audit of its product line and its competitive positioning with respect to six other wholesale banking institutions.   A key component of the branding strategy was based on understanding identified competitors’ branding, messaging and positioning.  The outcome of the brand audit would be used as part of new marketing plans including new website. 

Halpern Info Services associates conducted exhaustive research and analysis in a tight three-week time frame Each institution was profiled in detail: history, corporate structure, lines of business (emphasizing mutual fund, pension processing and custody services), revenues, business rankings, employee count, business strategy, recent (worldwide) acquisitions, brand facts, market geography.  (Work was conducted under NDA, as is often the case with custom business research.) 

The end result was a detailed comparison of each competitor and a blueprint to re-create a well-positioned website that reflected the positioning and strategy of the firm.

Entrepreneurs in the new economy can generally tolerate ambiguity, but this does not mean that ambiguity should be the substance behind decisions.  Good, solid information can ensure that important decisions are made with confidence. Markets, technology, competitors change constantly; once you’ve started building a knowledge basis, you will want to keep it current.  Anything else, is neglect and likely to cause problems in business operations.

© 2008  Richard Halpern  All Rights Reserved

 


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