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
The 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
The 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
- City Business Library Economic Research
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
MY FINAL PERSONAL THOUGHTS
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!