Market research will help you understand who your customers and competitors are. You can use it to determine the feasibility of your new business or even improve the one you have. You can also test interest in new products or services and develop competitive strategies.

Make sure to avoid potential pitfalls when conducting market research. These could include starting too late or not knowing your business' goal, overusing your employees and cash, or not using the right types of research.

Try these market research methods instead:

  • Ask the right questions of the right people — short questions with clear outcomes are best. Stay away from open-ended questions or combining two questions into one, as this may be confusing.
  • Decide what tasks you or your employees can do and what you would need help doing. You will get a better return on your market research investment this way.
  • See market research as part of the “cost of doing business”. Use free online tools where available and outsource tasks that can't be done in-house.

Types of research:
Ensure that you use a combination of primary and secondary research. Know which type to use to get the results you want. What's the difference?

Primary sources include interviews, surveys, focus groups and social media. Asking your potential customers what they want or need is a free and easy source of primary research. Listen to what is being said on social media channels.

Secondary sources include government data and studies, trade groups and journals, business magazines and reports, and community resources. Industry trends give you an overview of the market you plan to enter. Industry statistics are available on several government websites.

Remember that a solid market research plan can help you identify opportunities in the market and areas of improvement within your business that you may not have considered. Don't give up! Perseverance is essential for business success.

Visit our Market research and statistics page for access to free government databases and tools.

You can also refer to our blog: Do your homework: Market research leads to business success.