We’ve been taking our 8 Steps to NDIS Success to organisations around Australia over the past few months and one of my favourite parts is dispelling the myth that market analysis has to be complicated.
You don’t need to have a business degree or be a bean counter or have an enormous budget to do a great market analysis. All you really need is to ask the right questions to the right people.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
Engage staff in the research process
One question that inevitably comes up when we talk about market analysis is where do we find the information? There are a number of publicly available sources we would recommend you consult (e.g. NDIS Quarterly Reports, competitor websites, the NDIS Grassroots Facebook page) but we think the most important resource is the one you already have: staff members.
Front line staff are often excellent sources of information for what is going on in the sector. Many will have connections or experience working in other organisations and some may be parents or people with disability. Simply getting these people in one room to share what they know can reap great benefits, both for the information they can share and for the opportunity it gives to valorise their experience and engage them in strategic processes.
Choose a framework to structure your findings
When you first start collecting information on your competitors, you can easily end up with pages and pages of notes that are difficult to summarise and next to impossible to compare.
To ensure you collect comparable sets of information and to make your findings easier to understand, choose a framework that structures the information and sets clear guidelines for exactly what data is needed.
The table below is an example of the type of structure you could choose. You may also like to include areas like regional focus, availability and/or demand of service and the future outlook of the service, if known.
Consider all sources of competition
When choosing which competitors to look into, be sure to consider the less obvious sources of competition. Ask yourself questions like:
Are there organisations in other regions that may look to expand to your area?
Are there businesses that are more mobile that could easily reach your customers? (e.g. Just Better Care)
Are there companies in the private sector who may become competitors once the NDIS is rolled out?
Are there any substitutes that a client may take up instead of the service you offer? That is, are there other products or services that could meet the same needs?
Set up processes to regularly update your analysis
A market analysis is only as good as the quality of its data. In this rapidly changing NDIS world, it is crucial to set up regular processes and assign responsibility to keep market research up to date.
Reach out to your competitors
We are hearing a lot of organisations worry about their relationships with other providers disappearing as the competition grows fiercer. But our experience is showing that the number of organisations wanting to keep collaborating is far greater than those that are closing the lines of communication.
We would encourage you to keep in touch and keep trying to work together. The NDIS is welcoming many people who have never received service before and with double the funding entering the sector, the opportunity to provide individualised services based in best practice has never been bigger.
If you want to know what is going on in the trial sites or how organisations are adapting their services for the NDIS, it may be as simple as picking up the phone and asking.