The New Business Guide To Market Research


 

Have you conducted market research for your small business?

This may seem like a daunting task to begin with, but once completed, you’ll soon see how market research can greatly help your small business.

Market research isn’t just for large global businesses, with the right tips and guidance, you can transform your knowledge of your industry and retain engagement with your target audience.

Struggling to gather information about consumers’ needs and preferences? Market research can set up the foundation for success in your business journey. Whether it’s carrying out surveys or hosting focus groups, obtain targeted and effective insight, data, and information to support your business plan.

It doesn’t have to be complicated and statistical; you can find the right market research method for you with the help of our business guide below.

 

What Is Market Research And Why Is It Important For New Businesses?

With an intense number of day-to-day operations to handle and manage, running a small business is demanding.

So why bother with market research?

Spending some time capitalising on market research could grow your business and revenue because you’ll have a stronger understanding of competitors’ positions and customer feedback.

Undertaking research will not only positively impact your small business but reduce risk and spot potential opportunities for growth.

Why you should carry out market research:

Identify a targeted niche of customers who are truly interested in your business

Create and optimise compelling marketing materials

To launch a new product or within a new market, receive trusted feedback before you launch

Reduce the risk of failure and costs

Early access to industry trends

The right market research can give you the best value for your time on a low budget and with minimum cost investment.

 

The Different Types Of Market Research

Now that you’re engaged in carrying out market research for your small business, it’s time to break down the two different types of market research.

Market research is divided into two categories, qualitative and quantitative research.

Should you carry out both types of market research? In short, yes!

Using both qualitative and quantitative research maximises the benefits of information and data to propel your small business’s knowledge and depth of understanding, to ensure you succeed in your new venture.

Qualitative Research Explained

Qualitative research methods assess your customers’ personal attitudes towards your brand or product. This research covers a few issues in depth, to gather an understanding of how consumers think and behave, helping you interpret non-numerical data.

Qualitative research methods can range from interviews and focus groups to cultural records and observation.

For a small business, you might not have the ability to carry out a focus group, however, informally talking with customers about their thoughts and opinions on current and future products is a great way to informally gather insight with open-ended questions and personal experiences.

Quantitative Research Explained

Quantitative research, in contrast, is the process of collecting and analysing the numerical data concerning your small business. This data collection method will not only provide valuable statistical data but develop your brand awareness.

Whether it’s creating questionnaires or surveys or database reports, quantitative research provides reliable research to steer your small business in the right direction.

How The Two Can Work Together

Qualitative and quantitative market research work in tandem to balance the strengths and potential risks of your small business.

Combining both market research types not only helps solidly future business plans but works out how best to continue your small business plan.

It doesn’t have to break the bank either, check out these qualitative and quantitative market research methods that may be available to you:

Key sources such as account records, customer compliments and queries and sales reports can reveal valuable data and insight concerning buying patterns, causes of dissatisfaction and feedback

Informal feedback from customers and employees is a cost-effective way to obtain information without the need for marketing research agencies

Use your time wisely with a structured and well-thought-out research plan

 

How To Conduct Your Own Market Research

Before you begin with market research for your small business, it’s important to decide which tools and techniques will give you the best value for your time. Effective market research can be affordable and beneficial.

Below are our top methods for conducting market research, to truly triumph in your business plan.

Surveys/Questionnaires

To gain the best results from a survey or questionnaire, it is vital to ensure each question probes a customer to answer thoughtfully and honestly. This will create data and information that is effective and reliable.

A survey for small businesses does not have to cater for thousands of people, simply sending follow-up questions regarding a customer’s experience can reveal how best to move forward in the future.

Advantages:

Higher response rate

Surveys can be automated, saving time and energy

Clarification to make adjustments in the future

Disadvantages:

Limits rapport with customers

Slow response rate if customers are not engaged

Our top rated survey templates and software for small businesses:

  1. SurveyMonkey
  2. Google Forms
  3. LimeSurvey
  4. Qualtrics
  5. SurveyPlanet

One On One Interviews

This method of conducting market research requires time and reliable consumers, to provide responses that are credible and trusted. One on one interviews don’t always have to be formal, but they have to be well planned for strong feedback.

Advantages:

An opportunity to receive honest feedback and opinions

Strengthen the relationship between your small business and consumer

Build a sense of loyalty

Disadvantages:

Require a lot of time and planning

The conversation may not be productive but biassed

Personal Observations

A cost-effective method that can be carried out at a time and location convenient to you, personal observations are vital to gathering an understanding of your customer base.

Observational market research is collected by simply directly or indirectly watching or observing customer behaviour towards your product or service.

Advantages:

Accuracy is guaranteed as observations directly interact with a target audience

Customer behaviour is measured directly with little to no reliance on outside factors

Real-time results and data

Disadvantages:

Lack of clarity

Access to customers may be limited

Social Media Monitoring

Quickly becoming one of the most important ways to gather market research, social media monitoring can help you understand real-time conversations and discussions about your small business.

Continuously monitoring your social media presence and activity through brand mentions, influencers and feed posting, propels your ability to improve and grow.

Whether it’s manually monitoring keywords for your industry, tracking competitors, or incorporating a social media monitoring tool, increasing your brand awareness through social media is invaluable and readily available market research.

Advantages:

Collect and analyse uninfluenced opinions and thoughts concerning your small business

Track and resolve compliments and unhappy customer reviews quickly

Maintain a positive brand image

Disadvantages:

Financial investment to access premium social media management tools

Decreases face-to-face communication and rapport with consumers

Unsure how to facilitate social media monitoring? You can save time by incorporating social media monitoring tools into your small business to track and monitor your brand awareness. Once you have decided on a social media monitoring tool that best suits your needs, brainstorm your brand keywords, and set up the searches in your social media monitoring software.

Our top social media monitoring tools:

  1. Hootsuite is a tool that monitors all major social media platforms.
  2. Talkwalker tracks conversations across 150 million data sources.
  3. Mentionlytics is an app that tracks mentions and keywords of your small business.

Government Statistics

Available online are government reports and statistics to guide your market research process. Your small business can access government market research reports to grasp an in-depth understanding of your industry, target market and potential product or service development.

Advantages:

Cost-effective, government reports are free

Access to the wide coverage of data and information to make informed decisions

Readily available, you can begin your market research as soon as possible

Disadvantages:

Data is not specific to your small businesses’ individual needs as data is not collected for market research purposes

Data is rigid making results an inaccurate representation of your target audience

Unsure where to find relevant government statistics? Find the largest independent producer of official and recognised statistics in the United Kingdom here.

Market Research Reports

What is a market research report? A market research report is an online reporting tool that can be used to analyse the public perception of a business, product, or service. You can find customer survey responses along with social, economic and geographical data.

Advantages:

Time effective, save long hours searching for industry-relevant data and information

Add credibility to your market research with reliable data

Use objective data to make informed decisions regarding your small business’s next steps

Disadvantages:

Cost of accessing marketing reports for the UK

Your research is limited to a particular scope which may not be specific for your small business

Results may not accurately predict consumer behaviour

Finding relevant reports is a lot easier than you might think. Check out our top market reports for the UK across multiple industries:

  1. Google Trends is a free tool to understand consumer interests
  2. Mintel Store provide a range of reports to answer all your research questions
  3. IBISWorld for the UK is home to over 400 UK industry reports

 

Using Market Research To Make Business Decisions

So, you’ve carried out the best market research tools that suit you, what next?

The data, information and understanding of customer behaviour, competitors and industry can act as invaluable research to make informed decisions regarding your small business.

Whether it’s which product or service to launch next or how best to adjust to a changing industry climate market research can act as your secret weapon. Market research not only supports discovering the need for new products or services but helps clarify your thinking process to refuel and motivate your current and future decision-making.

Competitor analysis is one of the best insights from market research which can give your small business insight into your competitors’ marketing, customer feedback, strengths, and weaknesses.

The examination of competitors’ behaviour through market research provides information that can better focus your marketing objectives, decision-making, and consumer needs. Make the most out of your small business’s opportunities with market research.

 

Common Pitfalls To Avoid When Conducting Market Research

Market research can go a long way to ensuring your small business is successful and competitive. However, to save resources, time and energy, it’s important to ensure your market research method suits your needs.

Our top mistakes to avoid when conducting market research for the first time:

Not capitalising on technological involvement effectively

Failing to monitor and keep data updated and tracked throughout the process

Incorrectly carrying out a competitor analysis

Failing to use quality marketing research tools

Asking the wrong questions

Limited sample selection

Market research is essential to understanding your target market, competitors, and industry. Conducting adequate market research from the beginning, is not only crucial for continued success but ensuring your small business avoids unnecessary mistakes and unbiased results.

 

The Next Steps

Unsure what the next steps are after carrying out market research?

Once you have gathered your new insights and opportunities, it’s time to implement these findings into your small business. Market research is a tool that needs to be continuously updated and monitored.

Finding and maintaining your competitive advantage will shift and change along with your business, that’s why market research is a resource that will be useful throughout your business journey. It’s important to keep applying your learnings and customer feedback to ensure your business performs within your market successfully.

Sign up to My New Venture and learn how to successfully reach your target market.

Sign Up

Finding this guide useful?
Share it with others!
Summary
What is market research?
Different types of market research
Market research techniques and tools
Why conduct market research
Related Guides