How To Do Market Research

Whether you already have a business or you’re just starting a business, market research is an integral part of the process, but where do you start?

Carrying out proper market research removes much of the guess work regarding what your clients and prospective clients want and need from your business.

The arrogant business owner will assume that they know all they need about their target market.

The savvy business owner understands that consumer needs and desires are always changing, and the way to stay ahead of the competition is to listen carefully to what the consumer wants and deliver as close to it as you can (at a profit!).

The obvious way to find out what your clients want is to survey them, but don’t discount other useful methods of research like focus groups and telephone interviews. These types of research provide the opportunity to obtain a deeper level of understanding than what can be understood from survey results alone.

Before carrying out your market research be clear about the information you require. I find it helpful to begin by writing a paragraph about the information I need. Pick out the questions and specific pieces of information and list them. Take this list and note the type of research that will need to be undertaken to gain this information. I always start by collecting the quantitative data first, that is the information that relates to figures. If I’m researching a new market then this is usually done online looking at Mintel reports, census data, forums and associations. If your business is a local one then use your public library, council and local groups to obtain this information.

I then move onto the qualitative data, this usually comes from primary research so surveys, focus groups, telephone interviews etc..

Collate the research and write the answers next to your original questions, beware of your own bias!

Always consider if the information is a fair reflection, if you feel that your research doesn’t accurately reflect the whole target market then look for ways to triangulate your research – that is use several research methods to ensure you come to the most accurate answer.

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