Market research provides important insight on the habits of current and potential clients. The research can help ensure correct business decisions are made for the growth and success of a business. As a small business owner, you may recognize this and wonder how you can implement market research techniques on a smaller scale. This post will help you find cost-effective ways to conduct market research so that you can have a better understanding of the needs of your clients and make informed decisions to guarantee success.
Personal interviews are exactly what they sound like. This market research technique includes asking open-ended questions to a single member of your target audience. Typically, personal interviews for market research are about an hour in length. In order to keep track of all the information you receive from your interviewee, you may want to record the exchange. While these market research interviews are more subjective, they still provide valuable insight into your customers’ attitudes. If you need to uncover issues related to any new products or services or you simply need a decision support system, a personal interview is the best form of market research to do just that.
Surveys are a great tool for conducting customer research. This is an easy way for you to get answers to specific questions that will help you make the best decisions for your business. Surveys allow you to reach a larger audience than the next method on our list, but there are some downfalls. You may be left with more questions after seeing the answers to some surveys, but this can be avoided by making a note on the bottom of the survey requesting permission to contact the participant if further clarification is needed. Certainly, these can be conducted an a very nominal cost if done by the owner themselves.
A more personal option than conducting a survey is a focus group. You can get a small group to meet with you for a couple hours at a certain place and time, asking them all questions you have. Using a focus group will allow you to ask more open ended questions which can lead to better dialogue between you and the clients. The open formatted discussion can give you important information and ideas that you wouldn’t have thought to ask about on a survey. This can often lead to the best advertising campaigns, so be sure to take advantage of this technique.
SizeUp is a free service that allows you to see how you measure up with your competition. Upon visiting the website you are prompted to enter in your business and your location. Once you complete these two simple questions, you will be given information on how your business is doing, where your customers, competition, and suppliers are located, and where it would be best for you to advertise. This is an incredible tool that is provided free of charge by the U.S. Small Business Association.
There are many market research tools used by large corporations with plenty of money to throw around, but the methods above are the best and most cost-effective for you, the small business owner with a specific company identity. Using a focus group or survey in cooperation with SizeUp will allow you to make well-informed decisions for your small business, giving you and your business the best chance at continued success.
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