Start with the Why
LINDA: Commissioning research is fascinating.
Conducting in-depth interviews with the leaders
in your industry is intoxicating. But is original
research the next bright shiny object to take you
o; course? Consider carefully how it will serve
your business needs. What is your goal? Why?
How will it increase your credibility, add to your
exposure, or create a new revenue stream?
In my client base of community banking,
credit risk is widely identified as the biggest
challenge we face. My goal was to gain credibility with and exposure to senior-level economic
buyers (C-suite) of community banks and credit
unions. Through speaking at associations and
writing online, I expect to increase enrollment
in Lenders Online Training, a continuing stream
of income that does not require travel, is scalable,
and is salable.
JOSH: A research endeavor like this takes significant resources: financial, time, attention, and
energy. At the end of the day, the client needs
to own the reason for the investment and the
LINDA: As busy as you are, you are likely not going
to be able to add the administration of this project
to your list. If you wait until you have time, you
won’t do it. Do you and your sta; have the bandwidth to take this on? If not, hire additional sta;
or a virtual assistant who can.
Consider which parts of the project you want
to keep. I was involved in selection and design of
survey questions, initial conversations with sponsors, and development of the interview guide. I
did all the pre-survey interviews. I kept the tasks
that added value for me.
JOSH: The process works best when you have a
designated person in charge on both ends. At SRL
we keep project management, communication,
and direction under the purview of one person.
The client always knows whom to contact. Brian’s
role was essential. He consistently represented
Linda’s interests, kept the timeline updated, took
detailed notes for making subsequent iterations of
the survey run more smoothly, and served as a key
source of information.
In the last quarter of 2017, Linda Keith CPA Inc. commissioned the
2018 Credit Risk Readiness Study (CRRS),
which was carried out by the University
of Northern Colorado Social Research
Lab (SRL), under the direction of Josh
Packard, PhD, executive director. Brian
Keith, of Red Beard Consulting LLC, was
the project manager for Linda Keith CPA
Inc. Linda, Josh, and Brian kept notes for
Speaker magazine throughout the project.
If you are considering undertaking
original research to establish your
credibility, build your thought leadership,
shift your audience, or write a book, look
at what they learned in the process.