Do you have a new idea or service
to offer? All entrepreneurs start
from this point in the hope to
build a successful business. Well,
not all will create a business that
prospers and that’s why starting a
business is a risk that most won’t
take! However you can minimise the
risk of your business failing, by
using proven tried and tested
business strategies. One process
is Market Research.

Do you have an online business that
needs more customers? Market
research is your solution and you
don’t have to be just starting a
business to benefit from Market
Research. Why? For an existing
business, the user’s needs are
always changing necessitating the
need to adapt. This shift may mean
creating new products or services,
modifying existing
products/services, or changing the
business altogether to entering a
more profitable field. Note here
many a successful business has done
this such as Nokia or Amazon!

The first step for all business
owners is to find out who are your
potential customers, what they
want, how much they have to spend
and if they are willing to spend it
on your business. You can also
check on the areas you want to
target, and demographics of the
area. Demographics include the age,
sex, population, median income, and
religion. This information is
available from gov.uk statistics
section on the website here in the
UK.

Besides finding out about the
customers, you need to know the
competitors. If you are in business
competition is a healthy place.
Unlike days gone by, where the
customers were known, and local
small business knew each other;
competition has become global. In
fact, more people are going online
to buy even the simplest of things.
Anything form toiletries, back to
school supplies etc and all can be found
online. That means if you are
starting a business, try and target
a larger audience, the world really
is your market!

So, what is the process of market
research for new businesses and
existing ones alike? The process
can be broken down into the
following steps:

Have an idea for the business.
Create a test-product or service.
Plan on the questions that you want
answers to, then research to
respond to the questions. You will
need to choose the methods of
collecting the information, but
there are lots of free survey
companies out there that can be
found with a simple Google search.
Afterwards, analyse the information
to identify patterns and trends.

The next process will be to
implement the insights from the
questions.

Having an Idea and Creating the
Sample

If you have an idea for the product
or service, have a sample of it. If
it’s a new product, the sample can
be the working prototype, if its an
existing product you could get a
sample from the manufacturer or
wholesaler, if its application or
technological product, then maybe
the white paper. Conducting a
market research with the actual
product, not just the ideas are
more effective and will get you the
answers you crave. But, if the
possibility of creating or having
the physical product is impossible;
the idea will work fine. If your
product is not tangible, you can
still test a market by allowing
access to your product in return
for feedback, however feedback
needs to be in the form of a
critical friend.

Asking the Right Questions

The right questions should make you
confident if the business will work
or not. Remember, starting the
business is a massive undertaking
and requiring a lot of resources.
That said you need the right
question and brutal answers. These
solutions need to be unbiased,
accurate and come from your target
market. The right questions should,
therefore, be informed; research
before making the question and it
should be comprehensive. Simply,
asking someone if they would buy a
product is not enough; ask them if
they would buy it on a regular
basis or if they would switch to
your product.

After you have your list of
unbiased, comprehensive, and
informed questions; the next step
is conducting the research. You can
research the following ways:

Research for Primary Data

Primary data is short is the
opinion or facts you collect by
yourself from the target customer.
You can also get someone to obtain
this information on your behalf.
Nowadays, you can find out all you
have to know in just one hour or
more spent online. Information
about demographics, buying
patterns, which products people
like, who are your competitors is
all freely available on the
internet. Go on social media like
on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
and ask people for their opinions.
Nowadays, people are free with
their views and thoughts. You can
also try cold calling which is
difficult. Alternatively, you can
go the street and do a face-face
interaction with your potential
customers. A conversation with a
few potential users will go a long
way in adding solving your
questions. If you plan on hiring
someone to research; please also do
it yourself to test qualify the
value you are getting. Also, don’t
rely on the response from friends
and family they may give you false
hope because they don’t want to
shoot down your idea; look for
accurate, brutal and diverse
answers.

Research for Secondary Data

Your local library or online
libraries are best places to find
secondary data. What exactly fits
as secondary data? Its data that
someone has already collected
analysed and made available to
users for a fee or for free. You
can find data from the Office for
National Statistics (ONS) that has
population statistics. The British
Chamber of Commerce, Federation of
Small Business, British Library &
IP Centre and YouGov Sixth Sense
have all the secondary information
you could need to target people in
the UK. If you need secondary
information on other countries;
find it on the internet free of
charge by visiting government
websites.

You can also seek expert help if
the target market is difficult to
reach or if you need help asking
the right questions. They will do
this by running online market
surveys according to the people you
want to target.

Interpreting the Results

The answers to the questions you
had will either lead to an
investment or abandonment of the
plan altogether. Thus, be prepared
for anything and during the process
the answer may give you new ideas
you never had before and improve
your product.

In the end, people are the best
resources for market research, do
this before attempting the
business, and if you have a running
business, do it to offer better
services and to grow your customer
base.


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