Every small business starts with an idea. Whether it’s an idea to sell a product or provide a service, that first notion sets the wheels in motion. The very next step should be some type of market research.
Suppose you had the idea to open a franchise ice cream shop business but wanted to find out how successful will it be in your neighborhood? A short drive through your prospective neighborhood will show you if there are any other businesses like the one you want to invest in. It can also give you an indication of the kind of foot traffic you might be able to expect. This is a form of market research at its simplest level.
There are other benefits of market research that you should be thinking about to help your business.
What the customer wants
For a business to grow and become successful there needs to be some form of market research going on. Not only is this important to size up your competition but it can go a long way towards understanding what your customer wants.
If you open up that ice cream shop and feature a chocolate dip special in a neighborhood that is dominated by vanilla lovers then you’re not going to make a lot of sales. That’s an extreme example but if you take the time to do a decent market research survey, it can reveal information that you may have not known.
It could be the specific type of items that a customer would be interested in, whether that’s special offers, different varieties or a better shopping experience. Having a market research project reveal those types of issues can allow you to adjust your business and bring in more customers.
Types of market research
Just because you are a small business with a limited start-up budget doesn’t mean you can’t engage in a market research strategy. There are many forms of market research that you can tap into. At the high end is a market research firm dedicated to delivering you a comprehensive analysis of all aspects of your business. This is accomplished by a combination of phone polling, focus groups and online surveys.
Conducting an online survey is probably one of the most affordable options when it comes to market research. With this type of campaign you can ask visitors to your website to take a survey or send out the survey to a list of customers who have signed up for an email.
Always remember that you’re inviting them to share their opinions to make your business stronger. In other words, empower them to share their opinions.
As you gather your market research data, only you can decide whether or not to act on that information. However, if the numbers provide you with clues as to why your business might be stumbling, then it’s easy to see that using market research can turn your business around and point it towards a more profitable future.