Do You Keep Your Enemies Close? Eugene Suslo Jul 31, 2015 Tweet “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” As we continue our business development series, it is time to move into the second stage of developing your business. Now that you have a grasp of developing your plan, strategy, and identifying your customer, we want to look at your business environment. The market research stage is critical, in both new markets as well as mature markets. We know that Taxis have been around, but the reality is the market is changing. This is causing the need to reinvent your business, so looking at the market with a blank slate is the proper mindset to have. The majority of research being conducted in your local market is going to be who is using your services, what do they want from a Taxi company, as well as what the other Taxi companies in your market are doing. So lets dive into market research. What Is Market Research? Market research is essentially gathering information about your market, and compiling that information in such a way that you can make educated decisions. This is done in a variety of forms, with a variety of tools, but the goal is the same. Have an understanding of your environment so you can make educated and calculated business decisions. Market research comes in a few forms, but the most common are primary and secondary research. These two forms of research will be the main ways in which you will gather data, and we will discuss these in more detail in the next section. Conducting Market Research Primary market research is exactly as it sounds, gathering information from the source first hand. This means you will go about gathering information from your past customers, locals on the street, as well as having conversations with passengers. These conversations and questions will allow you to gather information about experiences customers have had with other Taxis, what the customers like and dislike about your service, and what trends are happening in other markets. Make sure to ask good questions in order to get positive and negative perspectives. The negative responses can be more helpful in the long term, because they will potentially expose your weaknesses. The second source of data is going to come in the form of secondary research, which again is as it sounds. This form of data is going to come from a secondary source, which is going to be news stories, trade association articles, and blog posts. Also, you can utilise social media in order to find out what people are saying about your industry, and right now there are a lot of opinions in the Taxi industry. Use this secondary research to find out what your competitors are doing, what other markets are doing to adapt to the changes, and adjust your business strategy accordingly. Befriend Your Enemies The principle of keeping your enemies closer than your friends is simple. Know what is going on in your market, understand what is going on in your market, and use that information to adapt to your market. Market research is a step that can not be overlooked, so take this opportunity to assess how you compare in your local market and make educated business decisions, without unnecessary risk.