Accessing free Market Research resources

Working together Copyright Carole Edrich
Working together
Copyright Carole Edrich

When you are starting out in business, it is very easy to get carried away by your idea and the excitement of the world changing business you are about to create. However, over the years I have come to realise, that without a strong foundation, you are like sand in the wind.

Having worked in marketing for over 15 years I have met a great number of businesses that succeed, and the one thing many of them have in common is that they understand their market and sector.

The successful businesses know:

  • Who their customers are
  • Where their customers are
  • What their customers want
  • How much their customers are willing to pay
  • When and how to connect with them
  • Purchasing habits

And the list goes on in greater depth about what you need to learn when it comes to understanding your customer.

For many, market research seems like a long arduous task, which cost an extortionate amount of money and resources. However, there are free resources available that can help you, learn and understand your marketplace better.


British Library – Business and IP Centre

logovbigsquareThe British Library’s Business and IP Centre is a hub of information. It has information about all sectors and industries across the globe. It provides resources for you to research your sector, investigate up-to-date trends within your sector and access experts to help you find the relevant materials.

It has a strong track record of helping you to understand Patenting and protecting your Intellectual Property.

Although you have to pay to attend many of their workshops and seminars, as well as pay for photocopying. Joining the library and using most of their resources are free.

They have a really good open plan co-working space, which is wonderful to meet people there, although, I would not personally recommend it for meetings.
Area: Kings Cross, London


City Business Library

cblThe City Business Library (CBL), I believe is a well-hidden secret for people starting out in Business. Similar to the British Library, it offers you unlimited access to information about most sectors.

However, CBL also allows you the opportunity to access databases of potential customers for your sector – (although, I have not used that service myself yet).

The City Business offers a very comfortable co-working space for businesses to operate from. The library is free to join, but like the British Library, you need photo and address ID to join. Please visit them directly for more information.
Area: City of London



COBRA is an acronym for COmplete Business Reference Advisor. This is an amazing business resource which you can use from home as well in affiliated libraries and learning establishments. It provides you access to a wide range of resource about numerous sectors. You are able to download worksheets, access a calendar of awards, events, and seminars, pertaining to your sector. Everything from Acupuncture to starting your own Yoga business, it can help you with.

COBRA is an amazing resource available through the City Business Library. It is also available via Redbridge Central Library and other local UK boroughs. To find out if your local borough has access to this free resource, you need to contact your local library directly.

Some of the locations which have COBRA

Deep in thought
Deep in thought

Today as I share this post with you, I reflect on the many people out there who just need a helping hand when it comes to starting a growing their business.  Of course, you can use Google, but the above-listed resources are dedicated to the entrepreneur who needs a little help in staying focused as you grow your business.  My name is Nicola and this is my blog!


I am tired of ‘I can’t’ in business

I was raised in Redbridge and spent many years in the area going to school and in fact my office are now based in the local area.

I am very happy to be part of the Ilford community.  Of course it has changed over the years.  When I went to school I was one of a handful of Black children in our year.  Now the culture diversity covers everything from Africa to Eastern Europe, Asia to Middle East.  Yes the cultural population is as diverse as there are races on the planet.

Diverse businesses in Redbridge - Silver Wheels
Diverse businesses in Redbridge – Silver Wheels Roller Skating Business

However, there is one thing I have found very interesting within the cultural mix, it is the entrepreneurial drive amongst all races.  Young and old alike, Redbridge is a business hub.  The range of businesses within the community, range from local farm shops to artisan delicatessens.  We have everything from rollerskating businesses to fashion designers.  I am certain we cover the whole business sector.

There is however, one other thing many of the businesses have in common, they are very insular.  There is a fear factor that really frustrates me.  Local businesses seem afraid to attract and expand.  Of course there is nothing wrong with that, but many business say that they want to be bigger.

I know many of the businesses would say that they disagree, however, actions speak louder than words.  And the proof is in the number of businesses that close on an annual bases.  The reasons for the level of closures are varied, but I can guarantee, poor marketing is high on that list.

What are the key problems?

If you look at the number of businesses that set up in Redbridge, many of them do not utilise and maximise marketing opportunities to promote to new markets.

  • There is a culture of local networking only. For many, this is about their comfort zone, for others, they do not know how to branch out.
  • There is a direct correlation between marketing and sales. Many of the local businesses advertise only based on generating sales and see no value in building brand awareness.
  • Planning in fear.  I speak to many of them and you hear them always saying , I can’t do this until …. , or I won’t do this until ….  The irony is that they never do it.  And what usually happens is that they jump onto the next new thing, without completing what they are doing.


Me speaking at Redbridge College
Me speaking at Redbridge College

What am I saying?

Honestly, I am sick and tired of hearing about these amazing businesses that fearfully do not take a step forward and make an impression on the world, (as they initially wanted to).  So here is what I am going to do about it.

I am going to invite a group of people, who want to see their personal business to grow and want to see the local economy to go and I am going to mobilise them all in understanding how they can promote their businesses together for wider success.

The concept of doing it is simple.  It requires a positive attitude and little to no financial outlay, except your time.

If you are based in Redbridge and want to pop over, please just register.

You can click here to book.

There is a saying the power of the fist can strike an almighty blow.  Redbridge have to work together as a fist for us to flourish.

My final thoughts
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

I do not know why I am so passionate about this, but my pet hate are people who just hold themselves back from success.

My name is Nicola and God help me, I was going to burst if I did not write this.

Anyway, click here to book

Overcoming doubt in your business

I cannot pretend that we have not lived through an interesting few days with the USA election.  However, for those of you that are building businesses and striving to do great things in the world, now is the time to switch on that positive mindset to 100% and get to work.Girl planting seedling in ceramic flower pot  If you are like me, there are times when getting back to work and staying focused is easier said than done. I am faced with doubt many times.  Doubts that I am making the correct choices, doubt that I am capable, doubt that I can handle each step of my business’ growth.  I know that I am not alone in this, but what I have found is far more important, is the necessity to overcome that doubt and figure out skills to inspire new growth.

If you are like me, there are times when getting back to work and staying focused is easier said than done. I am faced with doubt many times.  Doubts that I am making the correct choices, doubt that I am capable, doubt that I can handle each step of my business’ growth.  I know that I am not alone in this, but what I have found is far more important, is the necessity to overcome that doubt and figure out skills to inspire new growth.

I am not a botanist or gardener, but I do know that sometimes to stimulate growth in a plant, you often have to disturb the soil and churn it up a little.  In-fact, you may even need to re-pot the plant and switch it to a new position.  The same is true when growing your business.


The question?

In the daily activity of life, how do we stimulate growth in ourselves, when we are stuck or uninspired?

  1. I have found that by surrounding yourself with new people, can often trigger off new ways of thinking.  So, why not go out and network with progressive people.  People that have been in your sector longer than you.  People who have a track record of success and are willing to share their experiences with you.
  2. Try new things.  Go out and find new activities that could also inspire you to think a little differently.
  3. Challenge your existing working practices.  Sometimes, something that worked 18 months ago is no longer suitable.  See what else you can do instead.
  4. Ask fo help.  Speak to your community, reach out and ask people to help you.  Sometimes, people need you to spell out to them that they should BUY NOW  There is nothing wrong with engaging with people directly.  (Politely but directly).  You will find that people are quite responsive.
  5. Take care of yourself.  Sometimes when you are uninspired, you may just be exhausted.  Take some time out for yourself.  Treat yourself well and you will reap the benefits of it.
  6. Do not beat yourself up.  One big trigger of doubt is a lack of confidence because of something you have done in the past that did not work out the way you expected.  Use those opportunities as lessons from which you can learn new things.
  7. Take control.  You are powerful.  Decide on what you want to achieve and focus on achieving it.  You are powerful in making that choice – SIMPLE!  and I mean that.


My personal final thoughts
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

At weekends, especially Sunday evening can often be a challenging time for me as I contemplate all the issues I have been able to hide away from over the weekend.  However, over the years, as I have grown in confidence, I have employed the attitude of taking control of my life and realising that I hold the key to my own destiny.

My name is Nicola and this is my blog!


Trump’s victory could create a change in more ways than one

With Donald Trump as the next President of the United States of America, the world will see a change in a manner never seen, since the 1960s.


In a country where racial tensions are raising to the top of the country’s culture, you have to ask yourself, what are the implications of his victory?

One of the key factors of Trump’s campaign focuses on ‘I’ and not ‘We’.  And in a country where the individual actions of polarised individuals become the next viral social media sensation, we can surely expect to see an increase of ignorant actions of a few.  However, unlike the 1940’s and 1960’s where social media was non-existent for the masses, we live in a world where movement and retaliation comes from all directions.  Of course violence and political infighting is something many of us expect.  However, this is also an opportunity for economic empowerment for many more.

With smart thinking and a pro-active attitude, we can make a change, for those of us who are striving for a better society.  I believe that focusing on supporting and growing small businesses to become the big employers of the future, can be a key focus for change.  We as individuals can still work together to build the society we want to see.

This is an opportunity to actively support ‘marginalised’ businesses.  Businesses run by individuals who want to see change in our economy, in our society and in ourselves.

Businesses that do not ‘stereotypically’ receive the support of banks, are those businesses that have an opportunity to now galvanise communities and build infastructure. We can physically support our families, who struggle in our society to build a solid foundation for themselves, yes, we should look out for them.

Supporting independent businesses founded by women entrepreneurs.  Working with and building black owned businesses.  Encouraging our young entrepreneurs; are all key things we can focus our minds on and take action on TODAY!

With the contrast of Trumps multi-million $ empire, and his bully boy business tactics, we can leverage that behaviour to our advantage to do better and behave better.

Today, as Trump declares victory, we know that his Presidency does not limit or stop our ability to choose independently.  Today, we can choose, not to bow down to negativity, but build a better society for the masses.

We are our brother’s keeper.

My final personal thoughts
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

Hi, I am Nicola and this is my blog.  If you are reading this, you maybe wondering what next?  I am focused on what I can do to build a better society.  What is your intention.