Last week we looked at the crucial first step in preparing your business for launching; testing your business idea out. This week, the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) examines how market research provides you with vital knowledge on both your customer and competitor.

From the outset, market research is essential in helping you identify your target market and customers. Martin Feury, enterprise executive with LEO Offaly, encourages all aspiring entrepreneurs to carry out market research, by themselves or with the help of an expert.

“There are many methods of conducting market research. You can use a market research agency to conduct questionnaires among a sample of your target market, or conduct your own research by reviewing existing industry information from trade magazines, newspapers, trade association newsletters and web sites. You can then identify your target customer base,” he explains.

Make better decisions

Market research minimises investment risk. By spending time on market research, you are justifying your business idea before investing in it. Market research can highlight any potential threats or faults in your plan. Additionally, it can identify opportunities and improvements, which you may not have thought of before.

Market research allows you to develop your idea, or to adjust it, in order to avoid the worst outcomes.

It can also attract investors. A business idea with solid market research behind it is far easier to trust, than a sporadic concept with no real market analysis to back it up.

Get to know your market

Market research will help you to discover both your own strengths and weaknesses and those of your competitor. You can identify why customers might choose another business over yours. Knowing this will allow you to learn, adapt and stay ahead of the competition.

Market research should not be treated as a once off chore. Regular research into your market will help you spot emerging trends and new customer behaviours. By keeping an eye on your market, you can evolve and provide quickly for customers.

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