The more research you do initially the better your position will be when it comes to making future business decisions. Key questions that you need to answer include whether there is a genuine market for your business idea, what trends are affecting your market sector and who your competitors are.
This checklist will help you consider these and the other types of questions your market research should address. It also suggests some tasks that will get you started with your research.
A variety of questions need to be considered in order to build up a picture of the key issues and trends that may have an influence on your market sector and business idea. Understanding the market will enable you to target your marketing efforts towards specific audiences, while also identifying how your competitors are approaching the market themselves.
When researching your market, you need to consider the following:
What are the characteristics of your target customers in terms of age, gender, socio-economic status, profession, location, buying habits, ethnic background, interests and so on?
Find out as much as you can by reading market reports, trade journals, and newspapers and by searching online. Make a list of your competitors using your knowledge of your market, business directories and trade journals. Make a list also of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and assess how you can compete with them.
Visit your local business reference library. They will be able to help you organise your research and find reliable, up-to-date sources of information. Do some direct market research by talking to potential customers to build up a picture of the local market and its requirements.
Your market research will form a major part of your business and marketing plans, so keep a record of your research to refer to when you are reviewing or developing your plans in the future. Carry out research as an ongoing part of your regular business activity to ensure that you remain aware of what is happening in your sector and can retain a
competitive edge. If you decide to use an external market research agency, consult the Market Research Society’s directory of professionally accredited research providers (www.mrs.org.uk/researchbuyersguide) to find out about reputable and experienced agencies and consultants.
The full version of this checklist, along with an entire library of free business support articles, is available on our Knowledge Exchange Hub.
Join our Military in Business® Quarterly to stay in the loop with upcoming training & networking events, Ambassador insights, special guest speakers and trending business articles.