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Any business starts with one thing: and idea. But it’s what you do with that idea that dictates if your business will be successful. Market research is one of the first steps that any start-up should take early to avoid making any costly mistakes or bad decisions. More importantly, this research can determine if your product or service is viable in your particular market and what changes may need to be made if it is not.

There are two main categories of market research: primary research and secondary research. Primary research is the research that you obtain on your own, whether its through surveys, questionnaires, field testing or some other form of tracking that you conduct yourself. Secondary is simply research that has been conducted by someone else, but is relevant you your business and you can use as a factor in your decisions. Both are very important for your business moving forward, and it should be noted that updating your research as time goes on should be considered. Be wary of the information you do collect though, because there are some very common mistakes people make such as relying on free data from the internet without verifying the sources, surveying the wrong people and relying on anecdotal feedback from particular situations that may not apply to your business.

So, what are the areas that you should be focusing on for data collection? Your target market should be on the top of the list. Being able to identify your key target markets would initially be your focus, and after that point you should be considering what percentage of those markets is realistic for you to access. The characteristics of your target markets should also be a focus. Once you know their characteristics, you can concentrate your efforts in the right areas based on what the research shows will attract customers.

The other main pool you should focus on for data collection is your competition within your market. Understanding your competition will allow you to identify any gaps there may be in the current market, and tailor your product/service so it fills that need. By doing so, you are giving yourself a distinct competitive advantage and creating value for your target markets.

Everyone will have a different process when it comes to market research, and will weigh certain aspects with a bit more importance than others. The reality is that market research is essential for any new business that hopes to be successful. Remember, as long as your efforts are targeted and efficiency is emphasized, it is never a bad idea to conduct research.

For anyone in the early stages of their venture that is unsure of how to proceed in any area, including market research, be sure to connect with Venture Kamloops through our Start Here portal.

For access to an excellent guide on identifying target markets created by Edward Lowe Foundation, click HERE.

For an in depth article on market research from BDC, click HERE.


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