Market research for small business is absolutely crucial to your success. Research provides a platform to go forward in your business allowing you to be armed with the knowledge of variants that will play a vital part in your success and future. Market research is an important tool for any small business and large organisation seeking a commercial opportunity or survival, particularly in today’s fast paced business climate. This is particularly so for small firms looking to grow their business and to be taken seriously by their clients and customers.
Not only will you discover if there is a demand for your amazing product or service (or not) but research will allow you to seek opportunities to find gaps in the market. It also allows you to tweak and adapt to changing tastes and demands. It will also lead to ensuring customer satisfaction and planning effective marketing or sales campaigns, research can provide the market intelligence needed to encourage success, enhance competitiveness and maximise profits.
Our world is changing constantly and the consumer or buyer is becoming smarter and more demanding. Changes in location, demand and environment are constants in our world from now on. The Internet has given consumers and businesses the ability to become more informed and smarter about their purchase decisions. They have access to an extraordinary amount of information and data thanks to the Internet and I have sometimes found they know more than I do about stuff that I am trying to sell!
At the very least, market research can also be used as a tool to show your customers that you are thinking about them and their needs – you value their input to make your business better for them.
No matter what size your company, all successful business owners must have an understanding of a few of the following basics:
- Operating markets – my local area or the world.
- Competitors – who are they, how successful are they?
- Who are your customers and what are their needs?
- Are people interested in my product?
- What does it take to be competitive?
As a small business, you cannot afford your own market research department or even outsource your research to a market research company, but there are ways that you can still gather customer facts and opinions in an objective way that do not need to break the budget and often come at no price at all. Research is fun, yes it is. I guarantee you will feel empowered and enlightened and the information gathered along the way.
Here are some basic questions that you should know the answer to:
- How does my business compare with my competitors?
- Who are my customers and how do they behave? What kind of people are they? Where do they live?
- What are my customers’ core needs and how do they chose products/services?
- How is my product or service perceived by customers?
- What is the level of satisfaction customers have with my product or service? What do customers think of my business?
- What about those who don’t use my product or service? What are some of the reasons why? What do they do instead?
- How satisfied are my employees and what are their attitudes to my customers like?
- How effective are my tactical and promotional campaigns? Am I being effective in reaching my target market?
- How will customers react to new advertising and promotional concepts?
- What is the take-up of new and developing products or services in my field?
- Are my prices consistent with what buyers view as the product’s value?
- Is there even a demand for my product or service?
- Can I improve on my current offer?
- Will I make money or can I make more money with my product
Having the answers to these questions can help you focus your business, on what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell.