No square pegs in round holes

Recently a prospective client – a large bar in an Irish town – was looking to raise finance from a bank.


They were planning to structurally change their premises significantly in an effort to make it more appealing to young people.


So they needed to submit a business plan to bolster their application. And they received good advice from someone I know – let’s call him “Joe” – that it would help their application if their numbers were backed up by valid market research.


Joe was spot on – would you lend to someone who didn’t know not just when but whether they’d be able to pay you back?




Me neither.


So, given that Joe knows I do good market research, I was contacted about carrying out the work for the bar. And, as I do, I started asking questions. And some interesting answers emerged. Firstly the bar already had architectural plans drawn up. They had a very clear picture of what they were planning to do.


But had they spoken to the intended new customers? No.


Basically, their interest in carrying out market research was simply so that they could say to the bank : “We carried out market research”.


Now I must say that “tick-a-box” attitude irritates me. But leave my irritation out of it. More importantly for them, imagine if the market research said their proposed changes wouldn’t result in a financial pay-back?


Imagine if younger people were less interested in the physical structure of a bar and more interested, as my straw poll suggested, in promotions, themed nights, quality of music, quality of sound, DJs, finger food, demeanour of bouncers, etc.


So I said I thought their strategy was wrong and I declined further interest in carrying out the market research. I won’t do work for clients that I don’t believe will help their business. Granted that may lose me sales now and again. But there’s the flip-side. If I do work for you then you can be confident that I believe it will benefit you. And that trust is far more important to me than some near-term sale.


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