Small business owners have been told about market research so much that it’s always in the back of their minds. But how they react is what’s going to make or break their company. The truth is that understanding social and economic frameworks is an essential part of success, but businesses have not always had access to the level of data available today. In order to succeed in a customer-driven economy, small businesses need to understand their target market.
Market research can get a bit overwhelming and its many benefits can easily be hidden behind excuses and false advice. We’re going to shed some light on market research and show you how to take your business to the next level.
Centre Your Business on Your Customers
Market research is the process used to analyse data on the current market to learn more about your customers. The obvious benefit is that it allows you to better solve their problems. Market research should be used to answer questions like:
- Who is your idea customer?
- What problems do they have?
- How can you solve those problems?
As a small business, you have the advantage of being able to openly communicate with customers. You can make everything center around them in a way that large businesses simply cannot. Furthermore, you will then be able to create a business tailored specifically to those people.
- Build an email list that includes customers’ names.
- Create a four or five question survey that can be filled out on your website.
- Email your list with a link to the survey.
Research Your Competition
Know thy enemy. Okay, your competition is not exactly an enemy since most businesses follow a friendly competition format. Even so, knowing your competition is the cornerstone to helping customers solve a problem. Research allows you to set the right price and discover holes in their products or services. You can fill those holes by offering things that your competition does not.
- Write down similar products/services offered by competitors.
- Are they targeting the same customers as you?
- How much do they charge for similar products/services?
Test for Success
Market research is the best way to test ideas before doing all-in on them. It’s much more affordable to test out a product or service while it’s still in its earliest stages of development. Metrics allow you to see what concepts and types of messaging resonate best with your target market.
- Perform secondary research about your new product/service using the internet or even your local library.
- Create a survey based around your new idea to gauge how current customers will react to it.
- Contact a few random segments directly and ask them what they think of your new idea.
Use Market Research to Stay Relevant
Change is the only true constant in business. Market research helps you stay relevant by allowing you to better react to change. Research the evolving needs of your target market and analyse your competitor’s reaction to the changing market. Overall, you need to plan for change because it’s going to happen.
- Keep a close eye on social media. Develop a system for tracking new trends and consider expanding into new markets.
- Use your website to gather feedback from existing customers. Learn from their experiences to improve your services.
Never stop growing! Small business owners cannot afford to grow complacent. Market research is the best tool for growth at your disposal. By anticipating the evolving needs of the market, you will set yourself up for growth while those who ignore it are doomed to stand still.