Along with the rapid development of digital products and the IT industry in general, Agile methodology is gaining popularity, which is an iterative and collaborative approach to project management and software development, focused on flexibility, customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. Agile is already a well established approach as it enables teams to create high quality products that meet customer needs in a rapidly changing marketplace. While Agile is most widely used in the IT industry, this approach can be applied to a wide range of businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Given their size and specificity, it can be said that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face unique challenges that require different and innovative approaches in their day-to-day operations. Such an approach can help the SME sector to better respond to a rapidly changing business environment and achieve better results, especially when organizations have limited resources and are forced to act at the pace of changing external environment.
In this article, we will introduce you to the best practices for using Agile for small and medium businesses.
The best way to implement Agile in small and medium businesses is to start the process in small steps, because the entire organization cannot immediately migrate to a new operating system. Therefore, it is better to create an experience according to the Agile methodology, for this, choose one project or team that will be led by Agile. Gradually expand/share the experience gained with the rest of the company, which will give employees the opportunity to gradually and deeply comprehend the Agile methodology. This approach reduces the risk of disruption to the entire organization and allows team members to gain the necessary knowledge, practical experience, and generally increases their readiness to use innovative methodologies.
An integral part of the Agile methodology is collaboration and communication between team members, stakeholders, and users. Encouraging everyone to participate in the work process will help everyone get a clear idea of the project goals and their own vision of how they will contribute to the success of the project. This will also help minimize misunderstandings and improve the overall quality of the project.
One of the core tenets of Agile is the ability to respond quickly to change – Responding to change over following a plan. Small and medium-sized enterprises often face drastic changes in environmental factors and need to be able to quickly and efficiently adapt to the new reality. It is often important for managers to create a “perfect” product/service, but in the face of constant change, focusing on excellence is not always an effective solution. In other words, the pursuit of excellence can prevent a company from creating value for its customers.
“Done is Better Than Perfect."
Agile is an iterative-incremental and cyclical process - it is important to divide the workflow into time intervals (sprints), this process is continuous and with each iteration a part of the product is created. During each sprint, the team creates tangible value, albeit minimal, but still tangible. This focus on value allows small and medium-sized companies to better understand the needs of their customers and respond to them quickly and efficiently. This focus allows the project team to focus energy on collaborating with the client, - Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
Delivering a product or service in small chunks allows companies to avoid wasting time on features or services that do not provide value to the client, and instead focus on providing the most valuable features or services.
„Focus on what the customer needs, rather than what you think can be delivered.“
At first glance, the Agile methodology seems complicated, so it is important that the implementation process is simple and straightforward. Avoid overcomplicating the process with unnecessary bureaucracy and stick to the core principles of Agile. This will help minimize confusion among employees and ensure that the company's workflow is focused on creating value for the customer.
„Working software (product) over comprehensive documentation.“
It is very important to monitor progress regularly and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that everything is being done correctly to achieve the project goals. This will help to identify potential problems at an early stage and initiate the necessary actions. By using continuous measures of success, SMEs can better understand what approaches are working or not working for their organization and make the necessary changes to improve results.
Promoting a culture that values development and continuous improvement is critical to the successful implementation of Agile in small and medium-sized companies. This means giving team members the opportunity to develop their skills, get out of their comfort zone and not be afraid of new challenges. By encouraging a culture of continuous improvement, SMEs can even more professionally focus on delivering a product/service that delivers value to their customers.
In summary, the Agile methodology is a powerful approach for SMBs to better adapt to a rapidly changing and constantly changing business environment. By using this methodology, SMBs can deliver the most important value creation for their customers and increase the level of collaboration and collaboration within their team.
It is clear that Agile is most actively used in the IT sector, although the benefits of this approach can be used in other areas. This requires all companies to find their way through the agile transformation, which will help them strive for the right approach and continuous improvement to remain competitive and achieve their goals.
As the new year approaches, I remember John Lewis's Christmas commercial and I think I'll dedicate an article to advertising with the emotions I've received.
Christmas and New Year, sometimes with snowflakes, sometimes without snow. Red cheeks from the cold and a feeling of pleasure from home warmth. Lighted streets, business people, quick steps and unexpected joy from colorful Coca-Cola cars.
A period when, if not everyone, then almost everyone, tries to celebrate Christmas and New Year in their ideal or close to ideal environment. To gain symbolic charm for the December holiday, people dress up as a fictional Santa and express their care and love to someone important to them. The impatience to give gifts is growing day by day, because this is a well-deserved adrenaline rush from long reflections, getting to know the wishes of the addressee and giving him pleasure. Why not? If a brand like John Levis can help us convey emotion. The Art of Attraction ad is a story about Christmas seen through the eyes of a little boy and an emotion that is hard not to translate into action.
Finding characteristics that are valuable to most people and then combining them into one small creative piece of content can make an ad attractive and special to the public. Since the starting point is a specific product, advertisers sometimes prefer to attract potential customers with humor, and sometimes the balance of aesthetic elements is crucial. They say that simplicity is perfect, but it's not easy to convince hundreds of thousands of unique people through advertising that using this particular product will satisfy at least one of a long list of needs.
Seligman and Peterson agree that curiosity is a valuable need, otherwise they would not have proposed curiosity as a subcategory of wisdom in the developed character strengths model (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Naturally, the creator of the product and the consumer have a strong desire to understand, or to know - how does eating chocolate make a lady in a cafeteria feel? Maybe the girl prefers to walk with Frank Sinatra in cool weather in the evening in new shoes? What is the familiar environment for a person who wants to try a new whiskey? By responding to the interests of similar topics, advertising becomes a concept filled with value, and research becomes a key tool to help the product developer develop a new vision based on valid and reliable data.
We can say that a study conducted on hundreds of people is a kind of insurance that the product is successfully adopted in society. This is indicated by the fact that in addition to consumer research, the researcher receives information about what may be predisposing behavior before consuming the product, what hidden messages are best used in the process of communication with the target segment, and other valuable information. Details that become so important for understanding how people communicate through advertising. Analyzing consumer behavior gives companies the ability to understand what their audiences think and feel, and at the same time find an explanation for what drives existing attitudes. The valuable components that consumer research considers are:
Market Analysis - What is the existing market doing? What is the trend?
Product content. What are the key features that differentiate the product from other similar products?
The product in the eyes of the buyer - what value does the product create for the buyer? What is the motivating factor for the consumption of the product for the target segment?
Based on the information obtained as a result of the study, companies are given the opportunity to improve communication with buyers, which is directly related to a change in buyer behavior and, accordingly, to an increase in sales.
Research companies use a variety of traditional and modern methods to uncover consumer sentiment, but the ad creation process doesn't end there. The second, no less important step is to test it on a small group of the target segment before it becomes available to the general public. At this stage, the main work is completed (the concept and communicative messages are determined), however, based on the results of the study, it is possible to make small changes to the advertisement regarding sound, music, colors and other less important details.
Advertising testing is mainly carried out on focus groups. The moderator presents the advertisement to the target group, which is estimated by the respondents - conditionally, what is the initial impression of the advertisement, how effective is the visual side, musical arrangement and voice acting, how well the main message is perceived, what is attractive to them, what needs to be improved, and so on. Based on the information received, the analyst analyzes the results and issues appropriate recommendations based on valuable “insights”. In general, the feedback received from the user is also an indicator of the eventual success or failure of an advertisement. Defining the role of advertising testing, we see the main advantages:
1. Saving resources - advertising that has passed the testing stage gives some idea of the expected reaction of the public. This reduces the likelihood of creating ineffective advertising and saves time and financial resources spent on it.
2. Increasing efficiency - preliminary research of advertising is a means of correcting its shortcomings, which, in turn, increases the chance of conveying the message desired by advertising to the consumer.
In the ACT archive, you can find studies of commercials from many successful local and international companies, the purpose of which was to test them in several ways before launching on television. The results obtained allowed companies to take into account the opinion of potential customers and bring their advertisements as close as possible to the ideal.
One of the latest successful studies in the list of projects involved testing an advertisement for a new Liberty Bank credit card. As part of this project, Liberty Bank investigated what potential customers think about the video as a whole, its music, communication messages, etc. Based on the results of the study, the bank made a specific decision to voice the commercial.
“The study was very useful and interesting for us. The proposed research design and methodology helped us make the right decisions related to the planned campaign,” Nino Beridze, Head of Customer Experience at Liberty Bank.
The process of creating compelling ads links research data to a storytelling that sometimes activates the same areas of the brain enough to convince people to use the product. By understanding consumer behavior and visualizing their views in advertising, an emotional connection is established between the audience and the product, which becomes a crucial link for a committed relationship.
“Today is December 31st. A day of feeling special gratitude for the old year. It is a strange feeling to cope with the sadness and euphoria of waiting for the new year at the same time. I'm glad. 365 days ago, I had no idea what an interesting person I could be. I was able to believe in my own abilities.”
1. When a diary is more than just a word written on paper, 2022.
Many years ago I started my career in one of the Georgian family businesses. The first emotional shock for me was that, despite the scale of the company, it did not have an executive director, and the founder fully combined the management function. When I say "management function" I don't just mean setting strategic priorities, but deciding which blinds to buy for a particular departmental space (Like, literally).
As a result of micromanaging, protracted decisions accumulated endlessly in the form of delays and tensions. Accumulated to do list on the desktops of employees, accumulated on our tables and in the rooms.
Then I discovered that the premise of micromanaging was not the desire to control all decisions as such, but the fear of failing a the "business raised like a child", which ultimately cost employees time, energy and nerves in daily work, and in the long run - the company's efficiency.
Then for the first time I had a question:
Where is the tipping point for the family business when the founders have to question the old ways and start thinking about institutionalizing the business?
What distinguishes a family business from other types of business?
Generally speaking, it's a business owned and operated by one or more family members (Handler, 1989; Hollander & Elman, 1988). In other definitions, a family business is “an organization in which one or two family members influence the direction of the organization through a combination of managerial roles and ownership” (Davis and Tagiuri, 1982).
Family business is one of the most widespread forms of business in the modern world. They make up a significant part of the GDP of different countries. For example, the share of family businesses in US GDP is 64%.
In Europe and the USA, there are many large family businesses that have gone through a difficult path of development and have become well-known and successful companies. The best examples of such business in Europe are wine companies from Italy and France such as Antinori, Frescobaldi, Bollinger and others.
What makes a family business successful?
Compared to other businesses, the main advantage of a family business is the strong personal ties between family members and the shared values that flow from them. These values, together with the sense of pride associated with the business, create a high degree of loyalty and are often the key to the success of these businesses in difficult times.
While managers of various businesses often have to implement complex and innovative initiatives to motivate employees, members of family businesses are very enthusiastic. Thanks to the feeling that the business is a symbol of the family and serves as a continuation of its name, even working overtime makes it enjoyable.
The "immortality" of the surname creates the basis for relative stability in the long term. However, it should be noted that the same factor can become an obstacle to a flexible response to changes in the external environment.
The success of these enterprises is also expressed in financial terms, in particular, such enterprises are often characterized by reduced costs, since, unlike other employees, family members often agree to financial “sacrifices” for their business and, if necessary, for example, in case of problems with cash flows, they accept relatively low wages.
What threatens the success of the family business?
The challenges facing today's family business are more complex than ever. In the face of fierce competition, rapidly changing political and economic conditions, they have to fight for their survival and success in the same way as their competitors, and in some cases even more painfully.
Family businesses must balance the psychological parameters that are characteristic of them, in which members of the same family work together. The main task in this dimension is to maintain a balance between business and family affairs - family conflicts affect everyday business decisions, and business problems are often discussed at the family dinner table.
Because most family businesses start with little human and financial resources, long-term strategic planning—the (re)formation of various systems, structures, and management styles—becomes vital at a certain stage of growth.
The need to reform management style often entails a change in business manager. For the owner of a family business, transferring control to a “successor” is a big problem.
However, founders are often "lone wolves" who face business challenges alone, no matter how serious they may be. They are often skeptical of people who come "from outside" and receive professional advice from them, as they tend to do business "within the family." While this approach is understandable, it can be misleading in some cases. External consultants with extensive experience in managing a complex business development process are an important support for a family business when it needs to transform and move to a new stage of development.
Relationship between founder and business
According to various studies, there are several types of founders depending on their attitude towards the family business.
(1) For the founder, the business is both his "child" and "mistress" - the main object of the founder's interest is the business and its "well-being", and all employees are perceived as tools to achieve this goal. Any decision arises only in the mind of the founder and is carried out only with his permission, since there is a fear that others may harm the interests of the business. Once an employee shows a desire for more power, he or she is likely to leave the company. Such enterprises most often cease to exist after the death of the founder, because no one but them knows what this business was created for.
(2) For the founder, the business is a continuation of himself, the realization of "I" - the entire success of the business is the personal success of the founder. In these cases, it is much more interesting that the business survives even after the death of the founder to perpetuate his name.
Statistics show that 30% of family businesses successfully make it to the second generation, 13% to the third generation, and only 3% to the fourth. Therefore, for the long-term success of a business, much more is needed than selfless care for the company, “raised like a child” by the founder, and making all decisions yourself.
The Path to Business Institutionalization
In the wake of business growth against the backdrop of complex family relationships, it is a wise decision to institutionalize it, which means managing a business in accordance with certain standards and rules and freeing the management process from specific individuals. Such a system allows the business to become more adapted to rapidly changing environmental factors.
It is important that family members trust each other and be ready to let go of the reins of day-to-day operations without fear of being sidelined.
Such a transition becomes much easier if appropriate strategic objectives are defined and roles and responsibilities are assigned. The new environment also defines the role of family members/founders, they remain in the role of owners and participate in making important strategic decisions, although they are much less or not involved in the day-to-day management of the company.
This situation creates an opportunity for managers in the face of declining personal interests to make the business more flexible and competitive.
Have you ever thought that a cup of coffee with a colleague in the office in the morning, questions about yesterday evening's news or plans for the day can affect your efficiency during the day?
What answers do we get when we ask our team members about the behaviors and actions the company uses to improve the organizational environment and improve employee performance? Most of you will probably answer: team building that took place last year or is planned in the near future, monthly meetings to check the current status of projects, corporate events, trainings, etc.
Despite this, few employees will be able to name rituals that exist undeclared in the company. Using them, smart executives effortlessly:
Rituals help team members translate values into their daily activities. Returning to the coffee cup example, having an honest conversation with a colleague early in the day about plans or tasks for the day can be an incentive to be more active and bold in group discussions throughout the day, as well as being more receptive to other people's opinions.
Organizations that incorporate their declared values into daily rituals attract people whose values these rituals correspond to. On the contrary, interaction problems often arise in organizations where declared values are not embodied in rituals.
Building Strong Relationships
People who feel connected work more effectively together. Shared rituals help bring together a diverse workforce and reinforce the culture of an organization.
Rituals increase the sense of belonging and trust between team members. This is especially important in organizations where there is relatively less communication between different departments and positions.
A well-known example of corporate culture is the Grundfos Olimpics Olympic Games, where Grundfos periodically brings 1,000 employees from 55 countries to Denmark to participate in the "Olympics". During this period, employees from different countries live with their Danish team members, which greatly contributes to the deepening of interpersonal relationships.
Stimulate desired behavior
The implementation of small, even insignificant rituals often has a significant impact on improving the effectiveness of the organization.
An example of such a ritual in the research and consulting company ACT is the so-called “Muda Competition” (Muda), which is based on the principles of Lean Management. This competition is held periodically and serves to reduce, and in the best case, eliminate unnecessary costs (including time, human resources, etc.) in the organization. Its main idea is to improve the existing system from the bottom up, at the initiative of those people who have to deal with this or that process in their daily activities and most objectively assess the shortcomings in them. Accordingly, all employees take part in the competition. The competition provides for various nominations - "The chosen Muda for exile", "The most original Muda name", "The most reasoned explanation" and "The simplest solution to the Muda issue".
The winning teams of the competition are rewarded with various prizes, and the reduction in identified costs is reflected in an increase in the overall efficiency of the company.
Reducing stress levels
In a rapidly changing environment, organizations need to remain as flexible as possible. Often this adversely affects their results. In the midst of ever-changing economic, political and other changes, it is important to maintain the strength of organizational culture.
Rituals help to ensure the internal stability and resilience of the organization. They help team members stay focused on the main goal, despite difficulties, and not fall into despair. Rituals have proven to be a guarantee of organizational health for many organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of such rituals are virtual holidays and Happy Hour.
Organizational rituals are often found in the cultures of well-known companies such as Google, Zoom, Zappos and others.
For example, an example of such a ritual at Google is the weekly open meetings (so-called TGIF) with high-ranking executives, where company employees from all over the world can ask questions on topics of interest to them and get comprehensive answers.
Zoom's organizational culture is distinguished by its focus on people. The management encourages employees to bring family members to the office, which helps to preserve the health of the team, on the one hand, and the personal life of employees, on the other.
Zappos stands out for its creative organizational rituals. The “strange talent show”, which has become a symbol of the company, serves not to discover stars, but to reveal individualism. Each employee is given the opportunity to enjoy their uniqueness and share their strange or uncomfortable talents with team members.
At the end of this article, I will share with you some undeclared rituals, some of which may already exist in your company, and you can learn about the benefits they create for your company:
Morning coffee meetings - every day in the company should begin with the phrase - "Hi, how are you?". Each of us needs to relax and wake up, which allows us to talk on general topics. A 5-10 minute conversation with an employee often turns into a discussion of plans for the day. Such dialogues often end with the questions “What are you working on today, what are you going to do today?”, which creates a general idea of \u200b\u200byou or your colleague's plan for the day.
15-minute stand-up meetings with team members - sharing information about plans for the day and their projects - one of the most important rituals that creates a general idea of what stage the team is at, whether additional resources have been freed up somewhere or whether anyone needs Any help to complete the project on time.
Circle of acquaintance - the team forms a circle and shares with each other information about themselves that the rest of the team does not know. The existing ritual is often performed in conjunction with the coffee ritual, but in a relatively small circle, the latter requiring the participation of the entire team. This creates a kind of bond between team members, which helps in the coordinated execution of common projects.
Adaptation of a new employee. All new employees must adapt to the work environment and team. Change is not easy for everyone, so it makes sense to plan some type of team-initiated activity with a new employee, one of the simplest examples of which is organizing a Pub Crawl evening.
Knowledge sharing - team members periodically meet and share their experiences (mistakes and positive experiences), which contributes to the overall growth of team members. Also, team members realize that mistakes, to a greater or lesser extent, can make everything, which leads to a decrease in the level of stress caused by the fear of mistakes.
Perhaps some of these rituals have already entered your daily life. In addition, think about what other rituals exist in your company? How do they affect the efficiency of you and the company as a whole? When or who created them? The main thing to remember is that rituals are not created by themselves, but are created, strengthened and initiated by people.
The seasonal concern of summer is to plan a vacation so that during the long-awaited vacation we can do more or less everything - have fun, relax, be active, visit new places, visit family members and friends. Since spring, many questions have arisen in our heads: where to relax? For how many days should we book a hotel? How to travel? How much money should I set aside for shopping while traveling? Do we have savings? And most importantly, where can we find peace of mind?
The only question we can answer without hesitation this year is that we definitely need a good rest. Waves of the Covid pandemic, economic turmoil, the Russian-Ukrainian war, a stressful work environment, and existentially charged personal relationships are the main causes of stress. For most people, tourism is the main source of relaxation and positive emotions.
Rest on Russian background
According to the National Tourism Administration of Georgia, 387,781 foreign visitors entered the country in June 2022. Compared to the same period last year, this figure increased by 164.4%. According to statistics, 90,239 visitors came from Russia and 62,192 from Turkey.
In June, 252,656 arrived by land, 131,534 by air, 2,122 by rail, and 1,469 by sea.
It is noteworthy in these data that the top ten countries included Russia (in first place), Armenia (in third place) and Belarus (in ninth place), and also that the increase in the number of visitors from these countries compared to the same period last year is the highest (502.9%, 364.5% and 222.5% respectively).
From Russia and Belarus, the increase in tourist flows raises many questions among the local population. Dissatisfied with this situation, especially those whose personal or family economic situation does not depend on the growth of the tourist flow (does not own a rental area or other commercial facility). For this part of the population, the abundance of tourists, on the contrary, brings more negative results than positive ones. This is due to the fact that prices for products, services and rental housing are rising in resort areas, which makes rest even more inaccessible for many of our compatriots.
A significant part of the surveyed population (84%) expects an increase in the flow of Russian tourists to the country (including resort areas) this year, which does not cause discomfort for 70%. 3 out of 10 citizens call the abundance of Russian tourists in resort areas the cause of personal discomfort.
Russian tourist - guest or host?
Although the majority of the population does not openly express dissatisfaction with the large number of Russian tourists vacationing in the resort areas of Georgia, the majority of them (57%) believe that the Georgian government should restrict Russian citizens from doing business. on the territory of Georgia (including tourist areas), because:
• Russia is an enemy of Georgia (40.6%);
• Companies founded by Russian citizens in Georgia compete with local firms and as a result reduce their income (37.9%);
• Russia is waging war against Ukraine (11.1%).
Creating a favorable business environment for Russian "tourists" in Georgia poses a direct economic threat to local businesses, as this fact significantly increases competition in the country's market and, therefore, negatively affects the expected financial well-being. The victims of the process are those businessmen who year after year wait for the tourist season and whose economic power is built on the principle of distributing seasonal income throughout the year.
ACT conducted a survey of the population on tourism issues from 11 to 16 June 2022. More than 800 randomly selected citizens of Georgia aged 18 and over took part in the study.
40% of the population's financial situation has deteriorated over the past year
To assess the financial readiness of the population of Georgia for the holiday season, it is first of all important to know that more than 40% of the population say that the economic situation of themselves and their families has worsened or significantly worsened over the past 1 year. As for the population's expectations regarding current events in the country, it is indicative that, according to about half of the population (45%), events in Georgia are developing clearly or in many respects in the wrong direction. This makes them feel even more exposed to financial risks.
Every second person in Georgia does not have a plan for a summer vacation
According to the survey, despite possible obstacles, 40% of the population plans to go on vacation this summer, and even more (55%) do not have such plans. At the same time, the number of those wishing to go on vacation decreases with age - 2.3 times more young people (18-34 years old) plan to go on vacation compared to representatives of the older age group (55+) (54% and 24%, respectively). It should also be noted that residents of the capital plan to go on vacation much more often (56%) compared to the population living in the regions (slightly more than 1/3).
The duration of planned rest is mainly limited to 1-2 weeks (65%).
More than half of the population plan to relax in the country house or with relatives
In addition, 58% of the segment of the Georgian population who are going on vacation are planning to spend their holidays at their own or with relatives in the country, more than 40% are considering seaside resorts in Georgia, and 23% are considering mountain resorts in Georgia. Only 16% of respondents intend to go on holiday abroad.
According to the results of the study, the majority of people (60%) who plan to spend the summer in their own home cite the lack of sufficient funds for recreation as the reason. The rest say they have to give up vacation for personal reasons (27%) or lack of vacation (9%).
More than 8% of the population plans to leave the country for vacation due to the large number of Russian tourists gathering at local resorts.
Among those who plan to spend their holidays abroad, one in four chooses prices that are lower than those of local resorts. And 1 out of 10 citizens decides to spend their holidays abroad because of the best price and quality. The majority (42%) of those wishing to spend their holidays abroad associate their choice with the desire to see a foreign country. Every third person is planning a vacation abroad for the simple reason that his friends, relatives or loved ones live there. It is significant that more than 8% of the population cited the large number of tourists of Russian nationality in the resorts of Georgia as the reason for leaving the country on vacation.
It is also indicative that, according to the study, 10% fewer people plan to go on vacation this year compared to previous years (38.1% and 48.6%, respectively). To what extent all this affects the health, ability to work, motivation, quality of work and social life of tens of thousands of our citizens is the subject of another study. Explorers don't rest.
Ancient Chinese merchants were among the first entrepreneurs. They have found a unique way to manage risk in international trade. They distributed their goods for sale on several ships and released at sea. Thus, if one ship was sunk or became a victim of pirates, the rest had a chance to survive. In this way, Chinese merchants safely transported most of their goods to the market of the neighboring city and avoided serious financial losses.
In the 21st century, the export-oriented business is no longer threatened by pirates, but it continues to face other challenges. In today's world, the political, economic and social environment is changing so rapidly that the most difficult task for any company is to find and retain a loyal customer.
The main conclusion that a business must make in the current reality is this: Chinese merchants learned this centuries ago - they realized how much risk the principle "Put all your eggs in one basket" contains. Inspired by an old adage, this concept perfectly explains the importance of market diversification. Its relevance is growing day by day for international marketers and it is clear that Georgian companies are no exception. The Russian-Ukrainian war once again showed us what we have already witnessed many times - how dependence on the market of one country interferes with business.
No one disputes that market diversification is the best solution for risk insurance. However, the implementation of this principle in the modern world requires much more effort than "several cargo ships". Even in the case of the local market, there are many challenges - finding a relevant target customer, winning and maintaining his loyalty. It is even more difficult to fulfill this mission in the international arena. So when we discuss reducing risk and increasing capacity for export-oriented enterprises, the question is not what? but the question is - how?
How companies can better find and develop an unknown market or, at best, markets? It is obvious, and it can be seen with the naked eye, that it will be difficult to succeed only by watching the trends. The most effective tool for planning an international marketing strategy is market research, and consumer research occupies one of the main places in this process.
Well, if you are a business owner and want to expand, open up new markets, consumer research can be the most necessary and useful tool for you.
opportunities for consumer research:
The number one task in the process of finding a new market is to find out if the buyer needs the offered product or service at the offered price. For a company, entering a new market without consumer research is like wandering through a maze. Obviously, a business can have a rough idea of the needs of foreign customers, that is, of where and to whom it will be profitable to export this or that product. However, these ideas are largely based on intuition and may well not correspond to reality. After all, any foreign market is unique and differs in many ways from the local market - its buyers live in a different geographical area, speak a different language, have special requirements, opportunities and preferences. Accounting for all these factors is a prerequisite for success, in which consumer research can be of great help.
The survey provides the business owner with detailed information that:
This is not an exhaustive list of the knowledge that can be obtained through consumer research. If it is analyzed correctly, the business will have the opportunity to get to know the new market well and find the right target segment - the client who is most likely to buy his product or service. In this case, the decision to enter a new market is made on the basis of evidence, not assumptions, which significantly reduces risks.
ACT actively helps Georgian and foreign companies to develop foreign markets. One example of this is a consumer survey conducted in Yerevan commissioned by a supermarket chain. ACT has conducted a study of consumer preferences and consumer basket in Armenia. Analysis of the research results allowed the customer company to offer the client a product that takes into account the needs of the target segment. Thus, consumer research helped the business to insure the risks, due to which it established itself rather painlessly in the new market.
Finding a target customer is the first step in entering a new market. The next and no less important task is to attract the attention of potential customers. To do this, the business needs to properly pack the product and deliver it to the customer in such a way that it arouses his interest. The role of research is also important at this stage of the development of an unknown market. Research, in addition to the rational motives of human behavior, also reveals what topics potential customers react emotionally to, what excites them, likes or annoys them. Having received this information, the business will be able to offer the product to the buyer, taking into account his wishes and develop an effective way of advertising.
A good example of this is the entry into the Georgian market of several foreign shopping centers. By their order, ACT conducted a study - studied the consumer behavior of Georgians, brand preferences and consumer attitudes towards the proposed product. According to the results of the study, the companies adjusted their marketing strategy, offered the buyer a product that meets his requirements, and earned the location of the target segment. Thus, research-based solutions ended up being effective for them.
The key to the success of any business is a satisfied customer. As soon as a customer buys a product or service, a timer starts. The business really wins if the customer comes back to buy again and again. This will be a sign that the brand has received the most important award - customer loyalty. However, loyalty is not permanent. People's tastes change every day, new needs and desires arise. In fact, the success of a business depends on how well it listens to its customers. An effective tool for maintaining their loyalty is customer research. This allows the company to constantly keep abreast of the buyer - not to miss a single change in his mood and always be aware of trends.
This consumer research opportunity was successfully used by one of the representatives of the banking and financial sector from Georgia. ACT conducted several stages of consumer research for him in Uzbekistan, Central Asia. In order to identify the preferences of local consumers, the study was conducted both before and after entering an unknown market. As a result, the company managed to take a worthy place in the financial sector of the foreign market.
As we can see, consumer research is a necessary and useful step for a company that wants to expand and open up new markets. This allows business owners to make informed decisions, which greatly reduces the risk of opening, exploiting and maintaining new markets. However, businesses should not forget that the “stopwatch that starts when entering a new market” runs continuously while the company operates in this market. Thus, entering the market of a foreign country is not a one-time decision. Business must constantly be in the process of research and analysis of experience.