Why does research need to be at the centre of your business?

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There are two types of research that are equally important in business. There is market and ethnographic research that teaches you about the needs of people you hope to serve and product-related research that deepens your expertise.

Market research is the view from 40,000 feet that helps to identify opportunities in terms of market size and the competitive dynamics that make a market tick and generate value. Ethnographic research is the act of understanding people and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences. This is the ‘on-the-ground’ view that helps to dial in how to solve pain points and help people achieve their aspirations. Successful organisations continuously conduct both types of research to provide consistent value to their customers over time and as efficiently as possible.

In designing WellBeing, our team at Drop Bio Health engaged in extensive market research that took into account the evolving digital health market in Australia and overseas, particularly in light of how consumer interest in preventative health was changing. We approached this research with a multidisciplinary focus, meaning we incorporated the views of consumers, doctors, scientists and expert market commentators so that we had a well-rounded perspective on our rapidly changing market. At an ethnographic level, we conducted a significant number of hypothesis-driven interviews with women and men which ultimately shaped the personas of the people to which we would sell our membership-based wellness service. The insights we gathered informed every step of our product development and business strategy and importantly, those efforts continue. We have set up systems to make sure we continue to sense and respond to market changes while continually seeking to understand our members’ needs.

In our industry, scientific research (which leads to product development) is equally crucial. High-quality scientific research leads to the expansion of medical knowledge. It fuels learning, innovation and evidence. Evidence leads to trust, and trust helps drive discoveries and partnerships that lead to consumer and clinician empowerment and move healthcare forward.

The absence of high-quality research means it is difficult to know the safety or efficacy of an insight, recommendation or treatment. We are an evidence-driven company, and each day we balance the need to be urgent and patient as we build services to support our members, clinicians and researchers.

What are the key traits every small-business owner needs to succeed?

I think there are five general rules that small-business owners and entrepreneurs need to follow.

First and foremost, your health is mission-critical. You must find ways to look after yourself. Without you, the business is likely to stall, if not fail. There will always be exceptions to the rules but rule number one is stay healthy.

Second, champion the mission. Prioritise work that advances the mission. Take intelligent risks, demand excellence and strive to be the best in the world.

Third, every idea matters. Game-changing ideas can come from anywhere. Be curious, ask for help, and demonstrate an ability to grow. Own and learn from mistakes. Bring optimism to work.

Rule number four is to make every day count. Create the future with resilience, urgency and humanity. Be kind, humble, strong and embrace the adventure.

Finally, thoughtfully disagree. Listen and be motivated by a genuine fear of missing important perspectives.