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Understanding Market Research for Small Business


When it comes to researching your business, people don’t know where to find answers. What questions to ask? What tools are available to use?

Market research is key to understanding the viability of our businesses. Without it, we can’t truly understand who wants to buy our product, or if there’s enough profit to make a living. We won’t know who our customers are, what the competition is up to, or how new trends will impact our business.

A great way to start your research is by investigating three key elements of your market:
Identify your target market.

Considerations range from age, income, and ethnicity to personality, values and attitude.

Know your competition. Use business directories, web searches and industry knowledge to gather the latest information on your competitors.

What are the current and future trends of your market? Consider technological opportunities or threats and exploring social media outlets.

You can approach these points by using a number of free services online. ‘Survey Monkey’ will help you create a survey. Social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook are a great way to distribute your surveys online.

There are also websites that will help you. BC BizMap has information about your target market. Vancouver Public Library Online Databases will help locate customers and identify competition and of course, smallbusinessbc.ca is full of useful information.

Once you have acquired market research, create a viability report that will indicate whether you should proceed or put your idea on hold. This includes researching the costs of operating, required revenues to cover your costs, and do you have enough customers to make your idea viable? Finally, don’t forget to pay yourself.

According to a Royal Bank survey of small business owners, when asked if they could start their business over again, 59 percent said they would have done more market research. Do you market research now to save you time, energy and dollars down the road!

These are just a few of the topics that we explore in depth during my ‘Market Research for Business’ seminar. We hope to see you there. http://www.smallbusinessbc.ca/seminars

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