How to do a market research: a small business survey
Whatever the core business of a company, market research is a very useful tool to know the reference market: the tools available to small companies to conduct effective and meaningful market research.
When to do market research?
Customers' tastes and habits change, technologies are updated, market scenarios are constantly evolving. But there are certain moments in the life cycle of a business when market research is really essential.
- To understand if and to what extent a new business idea is valid
You have an idea to launch a new business. Is there a market in which to place it.
- To expand a business into other markets Do
Do you intend to sell your products/services outside your national borders? Do not forget that different countries and different cultures also involve different markets and it is not certain that what works in one local market will work equally well in another. Market research will allow you to spot the differences and adapt your marketing and sales strategies accordingly.
- Before launching a new product/service
Are you convinced that you have the perfect product in your hand? Customers may not necessarily think the same way. Before you export, it's best to conduct an investigation and evaluate their feedback. If there is something wrong you can make any changes and adjustments and not risk burning your idea for some detail that you had not considered.
- When you are looking for funding
If you need to convince someone to believe and invest in your business project, the first thing to do is to show them that there is a market and that your idea is the ideal answer to their needs.
Carrying out market research, therefore, is at least a duty, but you must also optimize your resources.
The first rule, therefore, is: do not be dispersive
How do conduct market research without wasting time: the 5 rules
If you're planning on doing market research yourself, try to focus only on the things that really matter. You are not carrying out market research " in general ", but a survey related strictly to your business.
First, then, identify the key questions you need to answer, and get the information you need to answer those specific questions by choosing the most suitable way to get them each time. Through a survey? With field interviews? By setting up a focus group? With an online search?
Stay focused on the key issues that really can help you define your business strategy.
Here are five simple rules to help you get the most out of your research:
Do your market research as soon as possible
It doesn't matter if your target market is local, national or global. Whatever its size, you need to be clear about which piece of the pie you potentially get.
Don't waste resources
A small business cannot afford to invest large capital in costly market research entrusted to professionals in the sector. It really doesn't really need it. Solutions such as surveys and focus groups can be easily implemented, with modest spending and excellent results, especially if you already have a loyal customer base.
Use the surveys already available
It is very likely that others have already done market research that can address your needs. Try searching the net, using sites and portals of chambers of commerce, trade associations or issues related to your business idea.
Find out what your customers are saying
The social media, personal blogs, videos uploaded to YouTube, the reviews of products or services similar to those you intend to propose, they are all good places to listen to the voice of your customers. The forums are still a valuable tool in this regard, as well as groups on Facebook. Equally important is identifying who are the most followed influencers by your customers.
Leverage the cloud and big data
Companies like Google spend huge amounts of money on collecting data and information. Check out Google Trends or the AdWords keyword planner and use Google Suite survey forms. You will get useful information, for example by seeing which the most used search trends are. If, by hypothesis, you see that there is a lot of research on fluorescent cat collars, it probably means that the offer does not adequately satisfy the demand and that therefore it could be a market niche to cover.
The limits of a market research
Market research can provide you with interesting information about your target market, but it cannot offer you a certain forecast regarding the future of your business.
You must consider that:
- A sample of your potential customers may not be representative of the entire market;
- People may not always be honest when they respond to a survey;
- The survey may not have taken into account new market changes that are coming;
- Entering your business into a given market could lead to radical changes and unexpected results.
This obviously does not mean that market research is useless, but that you have to evaluate the results with a grain of salt and take into account several possible variables.
And above all, listen to your instincts, because it will still be conditioned by the previous experiences you have gained in your life.
Market research is a very useful tool, even for a small business. Carrying out a low-cost survey will help you to better understand the dynamics of the market you have identified as a target and of the demand for your product/service. It will not be like reading the future in the crystal ball, but it will allow you to gain a useful overview and grasp new insights and opportunities.
By combining your intuition and customer feedback, you will be able to optimize your business making it more performing, and make your entry into new markets by increasing the chances of success.