What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Market Research

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Small business owners in all stages of business growth need to know what their client base wants, how much they are willing to pay for it, and when and where they want to go in order to buy it. Market research is not simply nice to have for business owners, it is in fact an essential part of operating a business and without it you are flying blind. For this reason, it should be clearly understood by business owners just what is meant by market research and how they are able to do their own in order to develop a clear cut plan they can use for running their business.

The first thing business owners need to do before they conduct their market research is identify their desired client base. This can dramatically effect the way in which you will collect your data. for example, a business whose primary clients are in their late teens and early twenties might do well with a facebook survey, a live tweeting session or text messages. On the other hand, a business whose clients are much older might prefer to do their market research through mail in surveys or over the phone. The key to market research is to think of the best way to reach your clients, and then ask the questions that will tell you the most about what it is that they want from your brand.

Outside of DIY research, small business owners can also look up statistics for their areas through Census reports. These reports can be an extremely helpful place to start in determining the relative density of your demographic audience in the location that you are operating. It can also help you determine where to expand in the event that you are ready to open up a new location of your business. After using DIY methods and looking at the local Census data for your area, you can then decide if you want to foray into paid data, which warrants its own research on the part of business owners. Generally it is a good idea to do some of your own market research before you consult with paid data sources, as this will help your business understand what kind of data it requires to expand on that which it already has.

Photo Credit to Scott McLeod on Flickr

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