One of the best ways to know if your business is going to be successful or not is to find out who your customers are and what they like. Without knowledge of your potential or current customers, it is very difficult to provide a good product or service. Without even knowing it, you may have already conducted market research. By asking or listening to people talk about what type of product or service they are looking for, you have an idea what people want. Market research is a good way to gather information that can be used to define opportunities and problems for your business.
When you begin to perform your market research, you want to first define the problem. You want to decide what you are trying to get information about. What flavor ice cream do your customers prefer? What trends of jewelry are your customers looking for? Some research can be done to find out what is going on in your industry and some research can be conducted to determine customer satisfaction or level of happiness with a certain product or service. After you determine what the problem is, you have to define your research plan or your ways of collecting the data and information. You can use information that already exists through other research or you can collect the information on your own. If you want to collect the information on your own, you can use a number of different methods: focus groups, interviews, surveys, questionnaires or observations. Once you have collected all of the data and information, it is time to analyze it and decide what, if any, changes need to be made in your business to better accommodate new or current customers.
Another way you can find out more information about your potential customers is to study your competition. Take a look at the products or service they are offering, their pricing, and marketing techniques. You may even want to go to their location and buy their product or use their service to have firsthand knowledge of what they are offering.
To collect the best information about your customers, you may need some help. There are many organizations that collect data that you can turn to for assistance: the census bureau, your local chamber of commerce, your local library, trade and professional organizations and (of course!) your local SBDC.
No business can be successful without customers. So getting to know who your customers are and what they like is one of the most crucial aspects to any business. Even the most simplistic research can be helpful for a business owner. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they like or don’t like. The more feedback you can get the better you can meet the needs of your customers.
The University of Scranton SBDC
Artwork adapted from freepik.com
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