How To Do Market Research Before Starting Business

Appearances can be deceiving and such is the case when starting a new business.

An industry that looks ripe for the picking might be experiencing a downfall. And a saturated market might be ready to experience innovation.

This is why it is essential to do market research before starting a business. If you don’t, you usually end up with disappointing sales and some really good hindsight.

Take for example the Xbox 360, which opted to use the HD DVD instead of the superior Blu-Ray in 2005. We all know which optical disc format won the ‘war’.

And the console, while doing well soon realized the limits of its decisions towards the end of its lifecycle.

In this article, we talk about how to conduct market research before starting a business that will align you with your consumers’ needs.

1. Look Towards Industry Trends

Before you begin analyzing competitors, customers, or products, look at where the industry is heading. There are a few ways you should go about this:

Use secondary resources. Many resources such as the US Census Portal , Google Scholar , and The Pew Research Center, among others, are great free resources to conduct secondary research.

Use these resources to look at monetary growth/ trends. Has the industry been growing in the past 5 years, past 1 year, etc…? A good indicator is stock prices, revenues and sales, and industry-wide profits. Numbers don’t lie, after all.

Learn about the pathos surrounding the industry. Reading articles on what the perception is surrounding the industry is a good indicator of where its long term future lies.

For example, the coal mining industry is slowly and steadily being attempted to be replaced, because of how it harms the environment.

While it won’t happen for a long, long time a business trying to make a mark in the industry is better off at looking towards renewable energy, since that’s where the long term future of energy lies.

Read about mass hires in the industry. Another good indicator of how an industry is doing is hires. However, this factor is very indirect in nature.

2. Look Towards Competitors

Once you have an idea of how the industry is doing, it is a great idea to include competitor analysis as part of your market research before starting a business. Some ways to do this are:

A. Research local competitors

While businesses have gone global thanks to the Internet, small companies are still most affected by their local competition.

Depending on the geography and size of your competitor, this research might have to be primary as good resources may not be readily available online. Some things to look at are:

Pricing Strategy: If you’re a B2B you’re directly competing for the end consumer.

If you’re a B2C, you’re trying to keep your bids as competitive as possible. It is always a great idea to see what’s being quoted and what’s being charged.

Marketing Strategy: While OnePlus and Apple compete in the smartphone market, their strategies are completely different.

One focuses very heavily on art and elegance, while the other on heavy-duty performance.

How is your local competitor marketing themselves? Finding this out will help you differentiate yourself.

Business Growth:

Have your potential competitors opened up new branches?

Have they expanded beyond your city/town?

Have they gone public to raise more funds?

Have they made mass hires?

Some of these questions will help you understand how your industry is doing locally.

B. Research global competitor

There should be plenty of secondary analyses available for global competitors for you to conduct market research before starting a business.

The factors of research mostly remain the same as those for your local competitors. However, global competition also shows you one very important thing that local businesses may be lagging on:

Product & service innovations: Thanks to their superior research and development teams, global businesses end up innovating their products and services more often than their smaller counterparts.

The best part is, it’s always in the news.

For example, if a marketing agency is focusing on developing its editorial content, how can you translate that to your business model before you start out?

It’s all about learning from the giants and building on top of their knowledge, one brick at a time.

3. Look Towards Consumers

A combination of primary and secondary research on customers is a vital part of market research before starting a business.

Customer research, or the lack of it, can make or break your business plan.

It can leave your business saturated, or give you a channel for an innovative business model.

A. Secondary Research

Secondary research on customers is great for quantitative factors, such as:

  • Target market’s growth in numbers
  • Target market’s grown in revenue and purchasing power
  • Geographical concentration for your target market
  • Points of contacts that a general demographic prefers, among other things

B. Primary Research

Especially great to gauge your local consumer base, primary consumer research should be a core part of your market research before starting a business.

Some ways you can use your primary research are:

  • Conduct mass surveys to see how consumers in certain areas feel about the product/ service you plan on starting and how much they’d pay for it.
  • If the above lean positively, you can conduct focus groups and controlled observations to test out your products/ services, if there is something unique about it.
  • You can also set up a small test market and focus on one geographical area, customer base, or even make your product/ service invite-only as many apps do.

Primary research is expensive but can help you build the most accurate consumer persona for your local market.

You’ll have a better idea of income, consumer tastes, and interests.

This, in turn, will help you modify your business plan to more accurately fit your local target market.

Read the full article here.

Originally published at on November 30, 2020.

Namify is a brand builder for passionate people in a hurry to get their ideas floating on the Internet.