Undertaking Your Own Market Research
Written on the 18 November 2013
Whether you're thinking of starting a new business, considering adding new products, opening a new branch, or increasing the services you offer, it's common sense to research your market to make sure there is sufficient support for your idea.
Areas to research
The first step is to identify what you want, or need, to know about your market. This could include:
Conducting your own market research
You will probably be able to source a fair amount of information about your market, and your industry, online. The government supplies a range of business and economic statistical information free of charge, including population demographics, economic indicators and forecasts, income and earnings, production and sales, and trades statistics. You can access this on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website to help you with your research.
If you have existing customers, there are a number of ways to canvass their opinion and get feedback about their needs, loyalty, motivations for buying from you, and more. Depending on the information and feedback you are looking for, this could be as simple as informally talking to customers when they visit your business or as complex as a multi-page carefully worded survey.
A start-up business could survey potential customers by approaching strangers walking past the likely location of their first shop front. You could:
You'll want to identify who your competitors are, work out what percentage of your market buys from them (and why), and identify their strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis. This provides you with information that allows you to operate competitively and profitably.
Using your research
Once you are armed with your market research, you'll have an idea of the size of your market and your share of the market relative to your competitors (or the potential for muscling in on the market as a start-up).