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Understanding your market

Market research is the key to understanding your market. Carrying out market research is essential for every business endeavour, from the inception of the business to the expansion of it. Understanding your market in terms of customers and competitors will shape your business. Knowing your customers will allow you to provide the best service. Analysing your competitors will enable you to be better and have a competitive edge over your competitors.

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Understanding your market will help you create a successful business that will thrive because you will have carried out the necessary, relevant research. After having a starting point, you will be able to set your business goals and objectives. There are many benefits of carrying out market research, and here are some things you need to consider:

  • Who wants to buy your product? Try to identify your customer, this will outline your business marketing and brand.
  • Do people want what you are offering? Is there a need or a want for your product? Where are people currently getting this product or service? Is there a space for your business in the market?
  • Are you able to create the product and/or provide the service for a fee that people are willing to pay? What is your price range, are you a value for money fish and chip shop or a gourmet restaurant?
  • You will need to carry out research after coming up with the initial idea, it will give you information to start, as well as a sense of direction.
  • Research will prepare you for any potential pitfalls because it will stop you from making decisions that are based on inaccurate information.
  • Market research will help you immensely with marketing of your business, it can also help you figure out your unique selling point (USP).

Market research should be in the heart of your business. It is an essential part of starting up and growing your business. Here are three different levels of market research that you may need to carry out:

Market awareness – this is possibly the largest part of your market research. It covers the initial market research that you will have to carry out before the business is even running. Market awareness will involve online research, reading different articles, publications and newspapers. You will also need to speak to friends, family, colleagues and potential clients, in order to get feedback and a general consensus of what people think of your product/service. It may also be beneficial to speak to professionals and competitors to get insight into the industry. Additionally, you will also need to look at analysing sales and marketing approaches.

Ongoing research – This kind of research will usually be carried out to ensure that you are providing the best service and excelling with regards to your competitors. You will need to conduct surveys in order to get feedback on your service or product. Feedback surveys should be carried out periodically because they will allow you to see any opportunities for growth.

Formal research – this kind of research is carried out by a professional. This type of research is not a necessity, unless you do not have the time to carry it out and/or have the finances to fund it. However, it may be something you could consider if you are looking at expanding. It may also be beneficial from the very beginning to help you create your business plan.

For more information, check out our ‘Starting up‘ section and ‘Grow a business‘ section.

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