Your Start-Up Market Research Checklist - X-Forces Enterprise
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Your Start-Up Market Research Checklist

Before starting a new business, thorough market research is essential to establish whether there will be enough demand for the products or services you plan to supply once you begin trading…


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.


What To Cover

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:

  1. The size and performance of your market sector
  2. What volume and value share of the market do you need to capture?
  3. Does your knowledge of the market and the research you have carried out suggest that there is sufficient demand for your product or service?
  4. Is your market expanding or declining?
  5. What cultural, economic or social trends could affect your market?
  6. Are there any gaps in the market?


Your Customers

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?

  1. Why will these specific groups of people (or businesses) buy from you?
  2. Where are your customers located?
  3. How much are they prepared to pay and how often?
  4. What are their budgets?
  5. What purchasing channels do they prefer to use?


Your Competitors

  1. Who are your competitors, and how many do you have?
  2. Where are they located?
  3. How long have they been trading?
  4. How do they price and promote their products or services?
  5. Where do they buy their stock?
  6. Which end of the market do they supply?


Market Research Tasks

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.


Hints and Tips

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 ( 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.


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