So you have a great idea for a product — something that’s bound to capture the hearts and minds (and wallets) of consumers everywhere. Or perhaps you have stumbled on a service that isn’t being offered by anyone else–one that is desperately needed. This is your opportunity! Don’t hesitate . . . don’t look back . . . jump right into it and . . .
Wait! Before you shift into high gear, you must determine whether there really is a market for your product or service. Not only that, you need to ascertain what–if any–fine-tuning is needed. Quite simply, you must conduct market research.
Many business owners neglect this crucial step in product development for the sole reason that they don’t want to hear any negative feedback. They are convinced their product or service is perfect just the way it is, and they don’t want to risk tampering with it.
Other entrepreneurs bypass market research because they fear it will be too expensive. With all the other startup costs you’re facing, it’s not easy to justify spending money on research that will only prove what you knew all along: Your product is a winner.
Regardless of the reason, failing to do market research can amount to a death sentence for your product. “A lot of companies skim over the important background information because they’re so interested in getting their product to market,” says Donna Barson, president and owner of Barson Marketing Inc., a marketing, advertising and public relations consulting firm. “But the companies that do the best are the ones that do their homework.”
Market Research Methods
In conducting your market research, you will gather two types of data: primary and secondary. Primary research is information that comes directly from the source–that is, potential customers. You can compile this information yourself or hire someone else to gather it for you via surveys, focus groups and other methods. Secondary research involves gathering statistics, reports, studies and other data from organizations such as government agencies, trade associations and your local chamber of commerce. (read more)