Category Archives: Strategy

Research Preparation

Make your Research Count. Or, don’t bother.

Research is integral to any new project. Stakeholders need to know that your information is accurate and on point. Diving head first into any research project is fool hardy. You need to have a solid foundation and understanding where you are going. Preparation is the key.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before beginning your research.

1. Know why you are doing the research. Have a definite understanding of why you are conducting the research.

2. Set a reasonable timeline. You’ll never have all the answers. Better to have 75% of the answers before the deadline then 100% after.

3. Know your critical questions. It’s easy to get side tracked. Know your core questions and keep them in front of you.

4. Know your resources. Someone has the answer to your question. Your quest is to find it. Asking the core questions puts you on the right path to getting the question answered.

5. Know your information options. Primary research requires a solid collection methodology. Secondary research involves sources. Prioritize your sources and keep in mind that deadline.

6. Know who can help you. Think about the about your resources and the time commitment involved. Just because your resource was there for your last project doesn’t mean that same resource will be there.

7. Know your maps. Mapping out your plan and keeping in front of you means you won’t lose focus. Take your time with this map. It is your guide and will keep you on the right path.

8. Take action. This is where you work your plan. This is where you will commit to and execute your plan. Keep your goals and maps in front of you.

Johann Lohrmann

Business Analyst
The Useful Research Blog | Effective research that you can use.

Leave a comment

Filed under business analysis, Research, Strategy

The Human Using Your Product

When I was 14 years old my mother cut out an advertisement from the Indianapolis Star. They were looking for kids who could write and who had some personality. Miraculously, I was invited to join the mass interview.

I never will forget that first day. There were over 150 kids and they were far more experienced. Some had been published. Some were going off to college. A couple of kids were editors of their high school newspaper. I thought my writing was decent but wasn’t sure it would pass their tests. In the end they choose 12 kids.

Apparently, they liked my writing. I was surprised when they called me for a second interview and eventually hired me. Turns out they were looking for raw talent. They were looking for something else too. They wanted someone who could put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Mind you, I had written about my love affair with tennis. I wrote what it must be like for a baseliner to play on grass courts. (True tennis buffs out there will completely understand why knowing your surface can make or destroy your game).

Anyway, a lot of the kids wrote big essays with flowery words. And mine was really simple. If we haven’t met then I can assure you I am not a ‘flowery person’. Practical and down to earth are my speeds.

Not your shoes?

Putting yourselves in someone else’s shoes. Yes, it’s a cliché. But think about it from a product point of view. If you produce a product (documentary, website, interview) with the end user in mind, you’ll be successful.

Everything you do should be with the end user in mind. And guess what- that precious ROI (Return on Investment) will be there too.

Sure, it takes a fair amount of risk- financially, creatively and you have to keep pushing yourself.

Think about your own decisions when it comes to design and development. Are you thinking how your end user and your audience will use your product? Are you doing so at every stage of the product’s development? If not, begin thinking how your product is being used.

Your client will appreciate it and so will their end users.

Johann Lohrmann
The Useful Research Blog | Effective research that you can use.

Interested in learning more about Defining Personas? Check out these sites.

Keywords: Business Analysis, Defining Personas, Analyzing Data, Goals and Objectives

Leave a comment

Filed under business, business analysis, Customers, goals, Marketing, Strategy

What to Look for in Website Design Company: Ask the Right Questions to get the Right Answers

Johann Lohrmann is an award-winning business analyst who specializes in increasing a company’s bottom line through strategic planning, analysis and creative thought. He holds a BA in Communications.

I am by trade in the communications business and am paid to understand how people think and share information.

Technology scares otherwise confident men. I’ve had executive level gentlemen express their disdain for websites and the technology behind them. These successful men know they need a website but they’re unsure even where to begin.

Frequently I get the ‘I’m too old to learn a new system’ lament.  Part of this fear comes from being afraid of making a wrong decision. Ok. Understood. The list of fears could be endless.

Let’s tackle this from another angle. What if you could learn to ask better questions?

A healthy infusion of knowledge and information can put those fears to rest. Here’s my list of what you should do to prepare. Your preparation is paramount to the success of your website. Before I hire any company I conduct my own due diligence.

Here’s How You Take Control of those Private Concerns.

1. I don’t speak ‘web’ and that (privately) terrifies me. I don’t want to get ripped off.

Solution: Review the potential website company’s past work. Why? If you like their past work then there’s a good chance you’ll like the options they give you.

2. I know that I should have a website but am not sure what it will do for me.

Solution: Having an online presence is mandatory today. If you don’t have one your customers may wonder if you’re still in business.  You’ll also be missing out on tremendous opportunities to promote your goods and services and help generate revenue.

3. I don’t have time to learn new technology or I simply have no interest in learning technology or how to build a website.

Solution: Ask the company on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most difficult) how hard it is for a novice to learn the system.
If you’re not interested in learning or editing your content, say so up front. Otherwise, it could cost you a pretty penny down the line.

4. I’m concerned about costs and what I can do to control it.

Solution: Get the proposal in writing. Know upfront exactly what you’re paying for, the estimated time of delivery and how you will be kept up-to-date on your project.

5. I’ve done some homework and frankly, I am overwhelmed with the amount of information.

Solution: Know exactly what will be expected of you. Here’s what to ask.

  • Ask the prospective website design company if you will need to provide content (writing, images and/or video?)
  • Ask about the company’s deadlines and what your deadlines are. Make a note of your deadlines and do everything to keep them.
  • Ask the website design company to list out the process for you.

Look at these questions and bookmark this article. When you ask the right questions, you give yourself a platform of confidence. And yes, one hallmark of a good website company is they give you the space to ask questions.

Johann Lohrmann
The Useful Research Blog | Effective research that you can use.

Leave a comment

Filed under Atlanta, Strategy, video, Writing

Top 10 Reasons Why You Need Market Research

1. The Age. This is the information age. You need information to do your job. Without information, you’re driving in the dark. Without headlights. And that’s dangerous.

2. The Right Information. You need access to the right information. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Market Research sifts through the information overload and the clutter. It brings you closer to your goal.

Atlanta Market Research Imagination

Atlanta Market Research Imagination

3. Pity the Imagination. The information you think is right may not be. Use your imagination as a part of the creative process. Use Market Research to drive your business.

4. Where’s your Audience? You won’t find your audience by simply declaring you’re open for business. How do you know where your audience lives? You have to ask. And a Market Researcher knows how to ask.

5. The Resources. A Market Researcher has accesses to public, private and pay for information databases, archives and analytical tools. We’ve already navigated through the mining field. That’s one of our strengths. This means you can now fully focus on your strengths and grow your business.

Atlanta Market Research Resources

Atlanta Market Research Resources

6. Your Imaginary Moving Targets. How do you know what to shoot for if you don’t have a baseline? Market Research provides a baseline, benchmark and a target. Otherwise, any path will take you there. And the last thing you need is to wander around the forest alone.

7. Reach Your Audience. Your clients want to know that you think of them beyond a payment plan. Understand your client’s market place, help them grow and they’ll stay with you. Market Research knows your client’s industries and their verticals as well. After all, solutions from one industry can apply to others.

8. Show You Care. It’s easy to collect a paycheck or two. Show that you really care about your clients by caring about their market space.

Atlanta Market Research Your Path

Atlanta Market Research Your Path

9. Strengthen Your Position. When you know your market then you can increase awareness about your market. That means your advertising, web pages, social media, blogs and your community outreach gets stronger and better.

10. Know Where You’ve Been. Anticipate where you’re going. Market research gives you insight to where you, your industry and your competition have been. When you know where you’ve been you’ll be able to spot the patterns for the future.

Do you need Market Research? Are you sure that it’s effective and increasing your bottom line?

Johann Lohrmann Director of Research
Bringing Research to Life for Businesses

Leave a comment

Filed under Atlanta, creativity, imagination, Marketing, Research, Resources, Strategy

Understand the Role of Research in a Product Launch. Or Fail.

Companies today are hungry for cash. For the small business owner payroll is at risk. Medium to large sized organizations are closely watching new industry products. Remaining competitive is a must.

You, as a business owner want to find solutions.  Your creditability, livelihood and future depend on it. Here are 4 key ideas that will guarantee your new product launch will fail- and what you can do to make sure that it doesn’t.

1. Guaranteed Failure: Not having a process in place, written down and explained to the team members.



If you don’t have a fully tested and robust process in place, then you will not be successful. Your team will be confused and you’ll end up treading water. Expectations and the understanding of how part A works with part C are lost. In the end, you’ll lose money, credibility and clients. Oh, and your team will think you’ve lost your marbles.

Simple Solution: Put a flowsheet together and document the process.

2. Guaranteed Failure: Falling in love with the technology too quickly.

Sweet Technology

Sweet Technology


It’s the latest! It’s the greatest! It will solve this problem that we have- or one that we think we have!

Stop and carefully think about the software that’s sitting in front of you. Does it address an actual documented need or an imaginary one? Just because someone builds it does not mean you need to come visit.

Simple Solution: Perform a SWOT analysis on the product that this software is supposed to ‘fix’. While you’re at it perform a SWOT analysis on the software itself. If you decide to proceed look at what else is on the marketplace and compare the tools.

3. Guaranteed Failure: Deploying another company’s beta system and charging your clients for it.

Would you sell beta?

Would you sell beta?

As a researcher, I test information. Depending on the scope of the project, I will conduct a variety of tests. Different stages of research demand different types of attention. Now, I may want to play around with a tool to see how it works. But, I will not deploy (ever) someone else’s beta tool and charge my clients for it.

For starters, beta testing is to identify problems on an external level. You’re the guinea pig.  If your client’s information is lost then you have to fix it. When a company doesn’t deliver on a promise then you can bet that bad news will travel fast.

Sell beta and you’ll lose time, money, effort and your good reputation.

Simple Solution: Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of the developer. Test internally if you must use a beta system. Establish strict parameters around doing. Limit your risk by not offering it as a billable service to the client.

4.Guaranteed Failure: Not communicating with your information technology team.

The Team. Your Company's Lifeline.

The Team. Your Company's Lifeline.

When you don’t communicate with your team you create blind spots. Blind spots are detrimental to a company as they impact morale, problem solving and creativity. When information is withheld the information technology team is left with a guessing game.

When you don’t talk to your technical team, you miss their expertise and their ability to solve complex problems. Their feedback early on could identify potential costly problems after deployment.

Simple Solution: Talk to your information technology team and ask them to provide feedback throughout the process.

Think about your Road to Success.

Do you have a map?

Do you have a map?

I’ve given you a few solutions. Now, here’s where you use solid planning throughout the project to meet your goals.

A. Approach the project launch with the end in mind. Doing this provides a roadmap on what you need to do to get to your goal- your X marks the spot.

B. Understand how the new tool fits into the company’s core products. If you’re a television company it makes little sense for you to add a financial tool kit as a stand-alone. Know the product and be aware of how it interacts with other products already in place.

C. Think how your client’s and your team will use this tool on a regular basis. Imagine your client is sitting at this desk. How does he move through the product? What happens when he gets an error message? Do the same internally. Approach the product from a multiple user perspective.

Johann Lohrmann
Director of Research
Bringing Research to Life for Businesses


Leave a comment

Filed under Balance, Career, creativity, Customers, imagination, industries, LinkedIn, Research, Strategy, technology

Sharing Information

Information changes lives. It can provide a non-profit with access to funds. It can do the same for the struggling college student. It can shed light on a previously unidentified vertical. When I first discuss research with my clients some of them are very protective of their information.

Yes, some information needs to be protected and there are private matters that remain so. But, there are other times when information needs to be shared.

This really is about intent. If you want to help someone, do it. You’ll find it gives you a shot of confidence and it does the same for the person in need. It moves them closer to their target. That’s good for business and it’s good for relationships.

Being stingy with information hurts you. It’s selfish and will kill your business. Trust me, I’ve seen this numerous times.

Think of how information has helped you. Information probably helped you land your job. It helped you push through some of the tougher moments in your life. Information helps you grow and adapt. Yes, Information is power. Share your knowledge.

Johann Lohrmann
Bringing Research to Life for Businesses

1 Comment

Filed under Atlanta, Balance, Career, Research, Resources, Strategy

Just Seize the Day, Will Ya?

One of my friends frantically called me the other day. It was work related and she was under the gun. From the tone of her voice I knew it was important. She asked for my help and when a friend asks for help, you’re there. Foxhole and all.

Being the research wonderboy that I am, I listened and then told her the search terms to use. I then walked her through the process on how to find exactly what she wanted. If she doesn’t know what to research, then she probably does not know how to use the right tools.

Research involves strategy and the ability to communicate one’s thoughts. Maybe that communication comes in the form of a video, an article, a giant spreadsheet complete with graphs and charts. The goal is to put research into action. (Industry folks know this as actionable research and actionable intelligence).

Even though it was an easy find for me it was a difficult find for my friend. Then again, I’m not an nurse and there is zero chance that I would ever find nursing as a reasonable career move. My friend did the right thing. She knew she had to find something and she called me. What she didn‘t do was quit.

A good researcher will not quit and will not give up. If he doesn’t find the information then he will continue to dig. He also knows how to find someone who can help him.

Of course, this applies to every day life. Sure all of us have had an economically rocky couple of years. But, you don’t quit. You keep plugging away and following that precious strategy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Atlanta, Balance, business, curiosity, job search, LinkedIn, Research, Resources, Strategy

Mythdom & Kool-Aid

In the Land of Mythdom….

There is a popular notion that if you help people tell their story that they will want to do business with you. Storytelling and engaging customers are buzzwords of the day. There is a problem. What if your customers don’t respond to the latest catchphrases or shibboleths? What if your customers don’t want the Kool-Aid you’re selling?

Not all clients are the same. Some clients are more responsive and willing to trust your expertise. But other clients need to know why your expertise is important and how it can help them.

Get to know your clients. Listen to them and ask questions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Career, Customers, Lesson, Marketing, SEO, Strategy

Three Questions to ask for Better (and more humane) Networking

Today has been a rather fascinating day. Imagine attending a Business Broker lecture. What would you expect to see? Who would you expect to meet? Well, I met an interesting fellow who shares my passion for technology. It came about by asking personal questions that are beyond the standard questions.

Standard Questions: (Begin Yawn)

  1. What company are you with?
  2. What do you do?
  3. How long have you been in business?

The problem with this Q/A system is that these questions do not take into account the person. The questions are business centered and frankly, I want to do business with people I know. Yes, you may have a fascinating industry, but I want to move beyond the industry.

So, what are some better questions to ask?

Personal Questions: (Cue Enthusiasm)

  1. What led you into getting the real-estate industry.
  2. What do you enjoy about your current profession. Specifically, what do you enjoy about the real-estate industry?
  3. What is your biggest challenge?

Think about how you engage others. Is it personal or are you simply interested in your next lead?

Johann Lohrmann
Digital Product Manager

Leave a comment

Filed under Atlanta, Balance, business, Career, creativity, curiosity, Customers, imagination, LinkedIn, networking, story, Strategy, technology

When Gaming Geeks Meet

I attended the Gwinnett Technology Forum yesterday. I enjoy these events as they aren’t typically stuffed with suits. Honestly, I’ve never understood the idea where everyone gathers in the same room only to be miserable in a suit and tie. How exactly am I supposed to network when I’m not comfortable? Ahh, humans and their ridiculous rules!

Anyway, the gaming folks I’ve met tend to be much more enthusiastic about technology. (Makes sense). They see how an application will work long-term.  They’re also able to understand the relationship between having a great career and enjoying what you do.

In thinking about a great career, a topic was introduced: the legitimacy of gaming as a career. Mind you, my career counselor in high school was worthless. No imagination and a severe lack of people skills. Sweet irony.

The question is, why should you have to legitimize your career? Are you able to support yourself and put money away for the future? Can you see yourself growing in your particular industry? Are you happy?

I started off in film and television and after 6 years or so, I was bored. There was no challenge and the intellectual side of my brain was crying out for attention. (Mind you, I was producing documentaries for a PBS affiliate so some aspects of it were challenging). I moved into intelligence research and from there to the online world.

What was the common thread? Understanding the transferable skills, knowing how to market myself and exploration. Ohh, and creativity. That describes exactly what the gaming industry is going through. This is a huge industry. Pay attention to it.

Special thanks to those panelists who spoke on the Gwinnett Technology Forum. Be sure to visit their sites.

Asante Bradford, Digital Entertainment Liaison for the State of Georgia,

Blake Lewin, former Turner executive and President of TransGaming Digital Inc.,

Todd Harris, COO of Hi-Rez Studios

Thomas Fallucco with BBMF-Americas,

John Sharp, Professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) – Atlanta Campus – shares insight on this exciting and highly popular industry.

Leave a comment

Filed under Atlanta, creativity, Georgia, industries, Strategy, technology