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Here at Insightrix Research Inc., we’ve been feverishly preparing for our joyous holiday celebrations both in and out of the office. In the last few weeks we have kick started the season by delivering treats to our neighbouring businesses, visited the Ronald McDonald House with gifts, delivered in-kind donations to a variety of organizations, volunteered at the Friendship Inn, and even celebrated National Ugly Sweater Day. Last week we delivered a fun survey to our SaskWatch panelists for points, matching each donation if given to charity, and we received some great insight into the spending and shopping habits of those around Saskatchewan! For an extra splash of fun, we took to the streets and asked the folks about their holiday season habits! Catch the streeter here: ...
 

By Corrin Harper, CEO and President, Insightrix Research Inc. Recently I had the opportunity to attend the W100 Idea Exchange designed specifically for women entrepreneurs, by the editors of PROFIT and Chatelaine. The Idea Exchange, held at the Ritz Carleton in Toronto on November 26th, provided a unique opportunity to share best practices with other leading women entrepreneurs, to learn from management experts about today's key business opportunities and challenges, and to create personal connections with other top entrepreneurs. Both being educational and inspirational, what a wonderful experience it was! One item from the exchange really resonated with me – every entrepreneur has to find their own path and use lessons they learn along the way to their advantage. Entrepreneurs – no matter what their educational background – achieve success by focusing on their passion and backing it up with an unparalleled work ethic. Here are a few tips that were discussed at the Exchange that can help a person become the most successful entrepreneur possible. Work Hard, No Matter What If you aren’t giving it 100 percent, you won’t be successful, and this resonates beyond business. Success is directly related to the amount of effort you’re willing put in. Always. Giving 100 percent does not mean having to put in 100 hours a week, but it does mean taking care of your investment, taking the breaks when needed to clear your mind to see things from a fresh perspective, and above all, it means being dedicated and driven to meeting the projective goals. People are Your Greatest Assets All businesses need a range of skills to be sustainable and be able to grow. As the owner of a business, you are called upon to perform several roles out of necessity. However, there are some roles you are better at than others. If you want your business to progress, it will reach a stage when necessary skills, need to be improved and extended. Getting the right mix of people to complement and reinforce your skills is essential. When hiring for a small [firm/business], you need employees who demonstrate entrepreneurial characteristics and work habits. Employees come in all shapes and sizes,with all sorts of diverse skills and quirks. Look for those who can handle risk, are results oriented, a team player, high energy, and growth-oriented. No one is perfect, so create a environment where these dynamics are supported and work with employees to maximize their potential in those areas. Learn from Your Hits and Misses Every entrepreneur will have missteps and false starts along the way, but they will end up helping in the long run. You have to be prepared to take those high reward risks and accept the fact that you will make mistakes along the way. The key is not to fall into the trap of believing you always have to get everything right. Risk Taking Risk-taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship. When just starting your business, you’ll have to put your career, personal finances, and sometimes even your mental health at stake. Almost all entrerpreuneurs at the Idea Exchange shared stories about abandonig their steady paycheck, sacrificing personal capital, and donating personal time and health. Let’s face it -- this sounds awful. However entrepreneurs frequently talk about this as being the best time of their life! Because we are dedicated to our business, enjoy what we are doing, and worked hard to overcome those stressors, we often reflect on these times with a positive feeling, knowing how far we’ve really come. The Exchange was a wonderful experience, sharing stories with other entrepreneurs, and one that I will remember always....
 

#1. What does a research company need to know from me? If your business has questions that need answering you may have made the same decision that a lot of businesses do: turning to market research to get those answers. However, for companies that have never done market research before, it may be difficult to know what they need to do in order to get the best possible results. Start with an internal discussion of what problems your business may be facing. You don’t need to know exactly how you will address those questions through research – that’s where the provider will come in. Also think about what goals you are hoping to achieve with your research results and who in your organization will need to use these results. Talk with stakeholders within your organization to see what’s on their wish list to know. These points will allow the researchers to choose a research methodology that will fit your needs. Furthermore, letting your research provider know what kind of budget you are working with will help them operate within your means. #2. Who is my target population? Determining your target population or respondent group (those who will be providing you with answers – such as current or potential customers, employees, or other stakeholder groups) is crucial to gathering actionable results that answer the research objectives. The target respondent is often determined by thinking critically about what hurdle your business is trying to overcome. For example, if you wanted to determine customer satisfaction for a line of winter tires, you might want to survey only those with a vehicle. Your target audience may be quite general (all Canadians, for example) or quite specific. If you’re unsure of who your target audience is, our team of research executives can help you pin-point exactly who you should be talking to. For example, our SaskWatch Research™ Panel has over 100 profile questions to ensure your survey is taken by exactly who you want to reach. #3. What are quotas and do I need them? Quotas are partitions of the population that are created to make sure that your research is representative of the population you’re trying to survey. For example, if you want to get an idea about what Canadians think about a certain topic, you would want to have about half of the people answering to be male and half female in order to match demographics. The most common quotas are based on age, gender, and region. Setting quotas helps you to make sure that the research results that you get are applicable to the population at large. This extra step allows you to make accurate forecasts about things like market share or uptake of a new product. #4. What approach should I take? What kind of research methods you utilize depends on what kind of answers you’re looking for. If the questions you want to ask start with ‘how many, how often, what, and where,’ then chances are you will want to use a method of quantitative research. This type of research is intended to be statistically reflective of the market, and will give you quantitative statistics that you can extrapolate to a larger population. If your question is about ‘why’ or ‘how,’ you might want to utilize a qualitative research method. Qualitative research employs methods, such as focus groups and in-depth interviews, allow you to dig deeper, but with fewer respondents. These exploratory research methods more fully uncover respondents’ perceptions, experiences and feelings, and add additional context to quantitative results. The division between qualitative and quantitative research is frequently blurred. Often, a comprehensive research project will involve more than one type of research to answer various objectives. #5. How much data should be collected? This question depends heavily on what kind of budget you are working with, however, spending more is not necessarily better. Depending on what your objective is, impactful research can be done on a relatively minimal budget. Think about how much detail you need in order to make whatever business decisions you’re trying to make. Are you looking to understand if your customers are satisfied with a certain product? Measuring a potential customer’s perception and barriers? Determining the awareness of your brand on a local scale? Whatever the need, it is crucial that enough respondents are obtained to ensure your results are statistically valid. However, paying more to get extremely accurate results when the organization is not able to take action on them means wasted budget. An experienced research provider can guide you to making these decisions and recommend an effective methodology. #6. How long will it take? How long your research takes depends on what type of research you are wanting to conduct, how many people you want to reach, and what method you would like to use (telephone takes longer than online, for example). It also depends on how clear you are with your research objectives. Your research provider will provide you timeline at the beginning of your project so that you are able to plan accordingly. However, there are options if you are in a crunch for time. For example, Insightrix offers a monthly OnTopic™ omnibus survey. OnTopic™ surveys are great if you only have a few questions to ask and have a tight deadline on the data needed. Your questions will be combined with other omnibus clients and is given as one single survey to our panelists. OnTopic™ has a one week turnaround, giving you faster access to the answers you’ve been looking for. #7. How will I be kept aware of the progress of my research? Your project will be assigned a project manager that will keep you informed on the status of your research. This is your primary point of contact and this individual will be the one to inform you if any complications should arise. Especially if your research project has a long field window, you may want to monitor the results as interviews are taking place. Topline reporting allows clients to monitor the results of each survey the moment the responses are collected. The results ideally include user-friendly features that display counts, percentages, and graphs for each question, offering the ability to share these topline results within your organization. #8. What kind of results will I receive? Research results don’t mean much if they are indecipherable. Depending on the needs of your business, there are many different types of deliverables that can be provided at the end of your research project, such as written reports in Word, PowerPoint reports, detailed tables, in-person presentations, infographics, to name a few. With individuals at all levels in an organization becoming shorter and shorter on time, a concise reporting style is essential. Sharp analysis, visually-engaging presentations, structured narrative, and succinct summaries as well as infographics that “pop” and engaging videos will engage stakeholders with the story your data is trying to tell....
 

We’ve all been there - your client needs the report by noon tomorrow, and though you may have the meat and potatoes, you scratch your head at the prospect of presenting all that data in a visual way. In anticipation that you will communicate your study’s results in a way that is attractive and straight to the point (but in a time restraint), time management can be problematic. Don’t fret, a few simple chart tips can save some of that precious time. Many researchers cling to the standard bar graphs, and when creating a report with a fast turnaround, disregard data visualisation in lieu of time management. When under pressure, these few, simple practices can help you create a quick and clean visual that your client can truly understand. #1. Plan ahead – When inserting a graph or chart in your report, it is important to decide what information you wish to display. If you’re skipping lunch to finish said document, then chances are you do not have extra time to fiddle with changes in the display of data for each chart. Each time you re-make a format decision, you could run into time management issues. Simply formulating a plan allows you to save time in the long run. Choosing a simple chart will allow for more time to control the quality before the report lands in your client’s hands – and often simpler is better anyway. #2. Consider your target audience– Even with a formulated plan, it’s important to think about the purpose of charting to begin with. A great chart must achieve its purpose – it must be meaningful to the beholder. As well, keep in mind as to who is all looking at the report. Different levels in the organization require different levels of detail. Often a chart geared toward an executive needs less detail than a manager responsible for that particular product line. #3. A graph isn’t always the answer– I know, contradiction much? Not everyone reads charts every day. At times, using a chart can cloud the result instead of giving it clarity. By simply contrasting white space within your report, tables or textboxes can be just as visually impactful as charts. Highlighting differences with colour, especially when dealing with qualitative or open-ended responses, can also help to effectively convey a message without using a chart. #4. Perform a clarity test – Sometimes when working too close to a document, one needs a fresh set of eyes to graze over the information. Before pushing the report out, have a co-worker or peer review the visual data information without any context. If they can read the data without needing extensive background information, then you have succeeded in representing the data in a way it can stand alone. Studies with a smorgasbord of charts can prove puzzling, and may be curtly disregarded by a client short on time. Your clients expect that the report findings will provide clear answers to their objectives, and most importantly, illustrate the story behind the data. And at the end of the day the researcher is the illustrator, whereas the data remains the ink to craft the story. Have a plan, know your audience, provide clarity and generalize data in a way it can be read across the board. Related post: 6 Creative Ways to Present Your Market Research Data...