You had what you believed then as a “winner” product or business idea. You were capable and willing to invest money, time, and effort to launch your small business. Fully convinced of what you had then, you started your business.
After six months, sales were still low and actually not growing. You eventually realized based on feedback from your few customers that your product lacks certain features and benefits that they want, or the number of customers in your locality is too small, or an online competitor can deliver a better and cheaper product.
Consequently, you are now considering closing shop. Or maybe if you are still capable and willing, you want to give it another chance but this time you will do it the correct way. You will conduct a market research to improve your product and business plan.
What is market research and how crucial is it to the success of your business?
Market research is an objective and systematic process involving gathering, analyzing, and studying information about a market.
You have to gather the following information:
- your product: its supply, costs, pricing, customer needs and preferences, trends, its strength, weakness, and competitive advantage
- your customers: attitude, behavior, spending habits, and location of your present and potential customers
- your market: size of your target market (or market niche), its structure, and growth potential
- your competitors: their strength, weakness, and competitive advantage
- general business environment: economy, socio-political developments, government regulations, technology developments
You can obtain these needed information from both primary and secondary sources.
Primary sources are surveys and personal interviews of your potential customers. You can conduct online surveys (using tools available online) or distribute questionnaires to a small group. You can also personally interview prospective customers one-on-one or by groups.
Secondary sources are internet sites and publications pertaining to your market and product.
Analyze the information you have gathered and make objective conclusions regarding the following:
- how you would develop your product , price it, distribute it, and promote it to best suit your customers;
- your market size and growth potential;
- how you would compete in the market.
Knowing all these market information and making sound marketing decisions before you even launch your business would give you strong start and the confidence to fully exploit the potential of your market and compete effectively.
You may CONTACT ME for any problem or concern about starting or improving your business. I will respond to you (free-of-charge, of course) the best way I can as a management consultant dedicated to helping small businesses.