Having spent much of my time working with ambitious, export-oriented SMBs in Ireland I'm no stranger to the market research process. Research is an integral part of any international market expansion project - which makes the Enterprise Ireland Market Research Centre at Eastpoint Business Park an invaluable resource for Irish businesses.
Before leaving for the US, I worked with Brandon Global IT on their plans to grow their New York operations. Before that, research was a key component of the UK market entry project for Auxilion too. In both cases I used the resources at the Market Research Centre to build a picture of the target market and inform key decisions.
However it can be a daunting prospect - especially if you don't have any prior research experience. Here are my top tips for the making the most of your time at the Enterprise Ireland library.
1. Do your research before the research
It's important to have a clear understanding of what you want to find before stepping into the Market Research Centre. Be thoughtful about why you need to do research.
What industries and geographies are you targeting? Who are your buyer personas? What is your short-term and long-term business strategy?
Having clear answers to these questions will make it easier to find resources that will be most useful to you.
2. Set goals
Without stated goals for your research your time in the research center will resemble something like a hunt for a needle in an endless haystack.
Research goals are the natural outcome of tip #1 - so once you are clear on your current situation and how research will help to inform your strategy, specific goals for your research project will become apparent.
3. Take notes
Come with a pen and legal pad and be prepared to take a lot of notes. While you can do some printing, there are various printing limits depending on the source.
The off-shoot is that it can be much more effective just to take notes of the stats and intel that are relevant to you, instead of printing reams of paper. Your resulting notes are going to be filtered just for the data you need and therefore much more actionable.
4. Build a database
Let's face it; ultimately the most actionable data you can extract from research is a database of prospects that make up your target market.
Sources such as DvB Orbis and Kompass are effective at building prospect lists and you can email an excel file of the results to yourself for later use. All the filters you might need are available including company size and locations, financial data, sectoral segmentation and much more.
You can view the full list of resources available here.
If you are already based abroad you can access these same resources at the nearest Enterprise Ireland office to your location.
Feel free to contact me directly if you are looking for any specific advice on your market expansion project.