Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

As a community of independent contractors in the CI profession, would it be possible for this group to share or find new ways of generating business in this market? While some of us may be competitive with each other, many of us may be industry specialists, country specific, or function specific such as CTI. Perhaps we could discuss good places to research opportunities, types of promotion that work, the power of networking, or other topics of common interest. I have found opportunities to work with other contractors in this business (e.g. teaming with vendors of secondary research to add our primary research skills so they can source more business and vice versa). Any ideas along these lines?

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I had a discussion with a colleague in the Dallas area recently. We thought a close networking group could be formed of independent contractors (employed ones certainly welcome). Instead of the typical Presentation & Refreshments of a SCIP Chapter meeting, we would focus on a collaborative hands-on project. Group members could help each other with techniques and analysis, learn new methods, etc. In addition, group members would be encouraged when bidding projects to add partners with different skills.

The lady who talked with me about this specializes in secret shopping, competitor store evaluation, and primary gathering. My focus is analytical, financial, and data-driven. Either of us could easily envision synergistic "fit" since our core methods don't overlap that much.

This gets away from the superficial "networking" model of exchanging business cards and schmoozing over a glass of wine, and into the helpful/collaborative model of networking where participants actively reach out for each other's benefit.

We haven't pursued it yet...but the thought seems pretty powerful as long as freeloading can be avoided. Normal network discipline is that passive networkers don't get the referrals (or not as many).
Hi Mark
Thanks for getting this started. Another idea might be to set up a "CI Night" for potential clients where they can come and get "free" consultation on a sort of speed dating basis. Potential clients come with problems, providers come to provide answers and everyone gets a crack at everyone. Hope we see some other ideas generated by folks in this group.
Another excellent idea, Claudia. If you tried that, I'd encourage you to have a "blanket" non-disclosure agreement ready so that folks (CI folks as well as potential clients) would know that their discussions would be held confidential...especially since they might be talking over project details with some CI agencies who would not later be working on the project.

Mark
Hi Mark

Yes, that's a very good point. I was hoping we could do something like this at SCIP 09 as Frost & Sullivan does it with their sponsors and it is well received by clients and leads to business.
Claudia,
A great idea. It certainly increases awareness. It may be good to work on some joint projects to create screencasts to improve awareness and make them widely available. For example, see "In plain English" series for describing various technologies - http://bit.ly/inplainenglish

Some of the topics I can think of include:

What is CI?
Why you need CI for your business?
How CI works?

etc.
Claudia, I think this is a good idea. I had previously posted a similar question to form a network of independent contractors to what you had suggested, but perhaps it was not as clear as you had stated. Anyway, some of my concerns are:

1 - How many people can we get on board with this idea...?
2 - Does this apply to people who would like to enter the field of CI, like myself...?
3 - What is the geography of the people we can attract.
4 - Can we attract clients

This is just a penny for my thoughts. I would, however, like to be included!.
Is there any updates for this idea...?

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