(Editor’s Note: The Colorado Springs Business Journal honors the city’s fastest-growing companies each year with a celebration in September. The eight companies that won are being featured in a series of articles discussing their business models, success stories and challenges.)
Elevated Insights is a market research company that is moving quickly to fill a niche in Colorado Springs. CEO Debbie Balch connects companies with consumers to develop concepts and products, she told the Business Journal earlier this year. The business’ fully integrated space at 525 N. Tejon St. includes high-tech rooms for research and development.
Describe your business — what do you do?
Elevated Insights is dedicated to helping companies understand their consumer or customer needs. We work with clients to identify their target audiences and bring them to life using qualitative and quantitative research techniques. This includes focus groups (which we conduct locally at our on-site research facility, as well as nationwide), in-home interviews, online consumer panels and discussion boards, quantitative surveys and man-on-the-street interviews. With our business expansion, we opened a [research and development] facility, including space for focus groups and a usability lab that is available for the local business or nonprofit organizations to use.
Elevated Insights is a dba for Balch Consulting. Balch Consulting incorporated in Colorado in 2001.
What are the secrets to your success?
We have a team that thrives on collaboration and doing their best work every day. We bring integrity and honesty to every project and are dedicated to delivering results with excellence. This can mean delivering consumer truths that clients don’t exactly want to hear, but we’d rather have a difficult conversation about a client’s brand — and through that conversation help them move to a stronger place — than try to sugarcoat a false reality. This approach to client relations has served us well.
What are some of the challenges you face?
The ebb and flow of the work. It can be difficult to find work/life balance. Some months can be overflowing with projects, while other months are slower. Although the ebb/flow is the nature of this industry, it isn’t something that ever feels completely comfortable. I wouldn’t say it is something you overcome, so much as something that you learn to have faith in and accept as the life of the business.
Do you have a way to keep employees engaged?
It is important that everyone’s voice is heard and valued. We have a range of talent — some have been in this industry more than 20 years, others less than six months — we work to make sure everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions and perspective. We also try to keep the office environment light and not too serious, with a dog-friendly policy, an office swing, outdoor workspace, company softball team and regular team outings.
Do you have advice for other business owners?
Don’t get stuck in a rut. Stay open to new approaches, new technology and where your respective industry is headed. One of the best parts of our inclusion in a team of varied skills, age and experience is that it helps us continue to approach research with fresh eyes and new approaches.
How do you accept new challenges?
For me, this is a matter of faith. If we’re moving down one path and a door is shut, I wholeheartedly believe that God does not want us headed in that business direction. If we work with integrity and intention, we’ll accept both the challenges and outcomes.
What do you think of the business environment?
There is a tremendous amount of potential in Colorado Springs. In 2015 we opened a state-of-the-art focus group facility because clients were missing a huge opportunity by not conducting research in Colorado Springs. In order to truly understand Colorado consumers, you need to include Colorado Springs. The consistent growth we’ve seen in out-of-town corporations finding us and choosing Colorado Springs for their focus groups is a tremendous vote of confidence for what the people of this region have to offer in terms of their thoughts, opinions and insights.