Market research

How do you know if your idea will stack up?

Think you have a good idea?

 So you have an idea for a business? But how do you know if other people will think the same – especially your potential customers. You may not think that market research is the most exciting part of starting up your business however it can give you some valuable information and help shape your idea and make sure that it actually works. If you like talking about your ideas, then market research could actually be really fun. Market research also doesn’t need to take up lots of your time or mean that you need to hire a research company, there are many things you can do easily and without costing you anything.

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Talk to friends and family

This is probably the easiest bit. Tell your friends and family about your idea and see what they think. They may not be your target audience so don’t be put off if they say they wouldn’t buy your product or service but this is a good way of understanding whether they think it would work and also maybe give you some ideas or problems that you need to think about.

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Talk to your potential customers

If you’ve got an idea, you probably already have an idea of who your potential customer could be. So go and talk to them. This bit will help you understand whether there is a market for your product or service, how much demand there is, what people would be prepared to pay and how often they would be prepared to pay for it. This is also a good opportunity to find out about your competitors. Document everything you learn – it may prove useful for your business plan.

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Do a survey

Online surveys can be easy to do – you could use something like Survey Monkey to pull a survey together. It’s a useful tool that will log all your responses for you. Distributing it using your own contacts and also post surveys on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Alternatively, if it’s right for your business you could hand out questionnaires at a location where you think your customers would be.

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Do secondary research

Take to the web and do a bit of research on your competitors – see how they market themselves, what their products are, their prices etc. You can also do some research on your chosen location or market around you. There’s tons of information available on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) about areas, age groups and the type of people living in an area.

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Use the results

Now you’ve done your research, make sure you use it. Did it throw up holes in your idea that you need to rethink? Did it give you areas that you need to look at? Make sure it’s useful for you.

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