Why do Research?
Your business has a great and original product or superior service offering, yet it will struggle without a solid marketing plan. As with most plans, market research must be careful, systematic, and thorough. It is a mistake to assume that you are well-versed about your target market. Market research must be done to verify that the planned business is viable and on track. Time is well spent using the business planning process to reveal market data and consider your marketing plan and efforts.
Two types of market research are generally used: primary and secondary.
Primary research involves personally gathering data. Examples include: a traffic count at a potential location; using the yellow pages or Internet to identify competition; surveys or focus-groups to determine consumer preferences; and consulting with friends, co-workers, and potential clients. Professional market research studies can be expensive and often not practical for smaller home businesses, but many books about effective research techniques are available for small business owners.
Secondary research involves published media such as industry profiles, trade journals, newspapers, census data, and demographic statistics. Secondary information is available in public ibraries, through government agencies, industry trade associations, and local chambers of commerce.
Start with your local library; librarians will guide you through the business data collection. There are also more Internet resources available than you could ever find or use. Trade associations and trade publications can be excellent sources of industry-specific data. Industry vendors and company contacts may provide valuable insider information.
When writing your business plan, your marketing information should be as specific as possible; give statistics, numbers, and sources of information. The marketing plan will form the base of your future sales projections and may reveal opportunities for revenue and growth.
– by Dion Shaw
Dion Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs.