It's something we can all relate to: first, there are the growing pains or emerging issues that begin to raise red flags. Next come the discussions, opinions, and committee meetings attempting to get to the root of the problem. Unfortunately, all of this talking and planning often ends in a gridlock, without accomplishing any significant changes or solutions. Or, perhaps an ill-informed decision is made that puts your firm in an even worse position than where you started.
However, as difficult as instigating change can be for your firm, it's often an essential step in achieving meaningful growth. The critical initiatives your business needs to embrace in order to grow tend to raise the most challenging questions for you to answer internally. Regardless of whether theses initiative are a top-to-bottom firm rebranding, a new website, or a strategy to increase your firm's visibility and reputation, your stakeholders are bound to be passionate and opinionated.
So, how can you balance these opinions and passions in a way that benefits the future of your organization? Well, luckily, there's an easy way to cut through the quagmire and take advantage of a powerful and objective tiebreaker: your audience.
By conducting research on your current clients, potential recruits, and prospects - even the ones who got away - you can gain powerful insights into what changes your firm needs to make and how to go about implementing them. Our research on research revealed that firms who use it frequently experience higher growth and profits than those that don't.
Here are three reasons why research is important to the future growth of your firm:
1) You can't argue with quantifiable results
A thoughtful and scientific approach might be just what you need to dissolve disagreements and take action. The various opinions bouncing around the conference room can easily be put to rest by the answers that research can provide. You won't have to wonder what your audience is thinking or take a gamble on the types of changes that need to be made - you'll have the right information to work with.
2) Your external audience has an important voice
Taking the time to listen to what your audience has to say is one of the single most important ways you can inform the decisions your firm makes. When you have clear insight into what your current and potential clients are searching for and how they tend to behave throughout the buying process, you can create services that better speak to their needs and utilize marketing materials that resonate with their process.
3) You may not know your audience as well as you think you do
Research can also help your business understand gaps in your perception of what your audience is thinking and what you think your audience is thinking. Even if you feel you have a clear understanding of how your clients and prospects operate, you may be surprised to learn the truth that research can reveal. Knowing the difference between truth and assumption can provide you with direction on where internal training and operational changes should be focused in order to drive sustainable change within your organization. And don't forget the importance of third party research, which is impartial and will provide better results than if you interviewed your clients yourself. Clients, even when disgruntled, will tell you what they think you want to hear, rather than objective truth.
Simply put, research gives your firm the necessary insight to make practical and actionable changes. The information you discover from conducting careful and thorough research can provide a catalyst to make the changes your firm needs to grow and remain relevant in your industry.
The more you know, the better your decisions will be.
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