If you are in a certain industry, or looking to get into a new industrial sector, it is advisable to learn all you can about it first! This article will provide several tips and questions to help you to research a new industrial sector.
Questions you need to think about
Questions you might want to ask include who are the major, medium size and up-and-coming players? What are the industry trends? How fast is the marketplace growing? Who are the leaders? Who is influencing opinions? What academic research is being carried out? What patents are being registered? There are several ways to do this:
1. See which white papers and blogs come up in the search. Look at industrial survey results – who are the opinion leaders? Follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn etc.s?
2. Put industry keywords into Google and see which companies come up in the search. Learn all you can about them by going onto their websites, reading their About Us, News and Research/Technical sections in particular.
3. Find similar companies using tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter and zoominfo.com
4. Find out which companies have been acquired lately by the blue chips in the industry. What have they bought over the last three years and especially in the last six months. Try to figure out why they are buying these companies – what is the bigger picture?
5. Search to find out who are the key venture capital firms investing in this sector and which companies they have invested in, repeating the exercise for angel funding firms.
6. What exits have these VCs done in recent months – have the companies they’ve invested in been acquired? By whom? For how much?
7. Check the publications to which leading academics contribute and review them regularly. Implement intellectual property searches.
8. Go to events, exhibitions and conferences. What topics are prevalent? Who are the opinion leaders? What do they say about where the industry is going? What leading research/innovation going on in the industry? Are there technology disruptors?
All the market research you will be implementing in order to get answers to the questions above could help position your product or service, as well as uncover opportunities for your company. It may also uncover where your R&D department should be investing its time, what joint ventures you may want or need to put in place, and what unique selling points need to be emphasized in your marketing literature. These are just several tips on how to research a new industrial sector. Read our other articles for more tips and advice on other business-related topics.
About the author
Lesley Anne Rubenstein-Pessok, MD of LAR Consultancy Ltd, has spent her whole career in executive roles, working with and training start-ups and SME businesses, helping them to become more efficient, increase turnover, improve profitability, cost effectiveness and create strategies that pay off. She is an approved mentor for the London and Partners’ Business Growth Programme, as well as for other public funded programmes. Her client testimonials say it all.