Small Business 101: The Market Research Approach

If you are having a hard time finding your target market and you feel like promoting your products is a total waste of time, maybe it’s about time to go the extra mile with your small business.

Market research is a process which can help you find and comprehend your customers, familiarize yourself with the competition, and find the right strategies to promote your products and services. No matter how small your business is, you need an extensive understanding of what you’re getting into.

However, market research should not only be conducted before your business venture launches; it should be carried out from time to time. Basically, there are many points in the business where a small business owner should be carrying a research: from finding out the current trends of customers to developing a new product or service. The main objective of market research is to give you feedback about what the market thinks and feels about you.

The two types of a market research are primary and secondary research. Primary research is getting the first information by finding out for yourself about your prospective customers. This could take place by doing online and offline surveys, focus group discussions, and interviews. The second type of research is the secondary or third-party research, where there is already information provided for you. This could be conducted by going online and reading through product reviews and client stories. This is a quick way to find your niche.

Doing a market research may seem challenging, but it will definitely give you the best results. Here’s a manual on market research which can definitely help you with your small business.

1. Before you could start your market research, you need to answer these questions for your personal reflection.

  • Where do you live?
  • Who do you want to target in availing your products and services?
  • Do you think that your promotional programs are working?
  • How does your business compare with your competitors?
  • Are you offering the best kind of products and services?
  • What do prospective clients think of your business?

2. Read about qualitative and quantitative research to give you a background on how to conduct a study.

This could also prepare you on how to format your questions accordingly.

3. Identify your respondents and target audience.

Make sure that they are relevant and could represent your prospective niche.

4. Be very clear and specific about your objectives before starting your market research.

This way, you’ll have direction and goals to fulfill.

5. Be prepared for unsolicited feedback.

Don’t ignore criticism because it could be the most valuable feedback you’ll ever receive.

6. Remember to provide a place for open-ended comments on any survey that you use.

This will help you get the right answers and opinions.

7. Read through your questionnaires to make sure that you’re not asking offensive questions.

Always leave a good impression to people you meet, or else you’ll have a difficult time inviting customers.

8. Create a graph or chart from the data you collected in order to picture and analyze the results easily.

This could guide you further in visualizing your data and being more specific with your future strategies. Having charts and graphs gives you the chance to look back at your data without reading through lengthy texts.

9. Always ask for comments and suggestions to make your study stronger and more bonded.

Do not be afraid to find out what your audience thinks about your brand.

10. Plan on getting a large sample group to obtain significant and complete data.

The more sample groups you'll have, the more chances you have of getting the right percentage for your study.

11. Record everything.

From interviews to surveys, you have to take note of everything so you’ll get accurate results.

12. Do not be biased while conducting your study.

Be objective and impartial in order to get more specific results.

In conducting market research, you must first gather facts in an objective way to find out what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. Market research is absolutely not a perfect science. It deals with people and their persistently changing behaviors and feelings, which are influenced by immeasurable subjective factors. Remember to keep your mind open to new prospects and opportunities that you didn’t consider before conducting your research.


Photo credits to Fridge Business.

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Camille Jacinto

About Camille Jacinto

Jack of all trades. Interested in MAFIA: Music, Arts, Film, Independence and Anything Intellectual. Currently writing for an events and advertising company.