When researching potential business ideas, it’s important to look at the competition and the marketplace. Due diligence is key, as are early adopters who can promote a great idea, product or service.
Give yourself the upper hand in starting your business by gathering information on your customer base up front. Market research is one of the most beneficial tools to assist you in the planning phase.
LEARNING ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS
In order to gain a thorough understanding of your market and customers, you must collect and analyze information that’s relevant to your business plan. Start by answering these questions:
- Demand Is there a need for my offering?
- Market Size How many potential customers are in my area?
- Economic Stats What are the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics and employment rates?
- Location Where do my customers live, and where can I do business?
- Supply How many comparable options are currently saturating the market?
- Cost What do my prospective customers pay for those options?
Direct-to-consumer research can help you gain insight into your target audience. Through questionnaires, surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews, you can learn specifics about your customers, from their buying habits to how they respond to your branding.
Utilizing Free Resources
It’s also important to stay up to date on the most recent industry trends and customer demographics. In addition to resources like the Library of Congress, universities’ online learning courses, and TED Talks, there are dozens of trustworthy web resources available free of charge (and right at your fingertips).
This information won’t necessarily align with your specific market, but it’s an efficient way to get general questions answered, and enhance the content of your future business plan.
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