Market Research on a Budget

You’re a female entrepreneur with an idea for a small business or a new product. It’s something you can really get behind—something you love to do.

And even though that’s a large part of predicting success, it’s not enough.

There must be a demand for that product in the market. It must meet an un-met need and do it in a way that will position your business with exceptionalism—because even the most passionate of dreams can’t stay alive without adequate revenue.

And speaking of revenue, you don’t exactly have the capital necessary for hiring a marketing firm.

What’s a girl to do?

She can conduct her own market research, on a shoestring budget, in order to determine if her idea is viable, scalable, in-demand…with enough resiliency to withstand the rigours of intense competition.

Are you up for it?

Are you ready to start the research?

Great! I’ve got the steps to get you started right here:

  • Identify the Competition. In other words, find out who’s doing what you’d like to do. Are they experiencing success? Is their target market identical to yours? What makes your business unique to theirs? What are their customers happy with…and unhappy with? Can you fill those gaps? I never advise aspiring business owners to copy the competition’s moves; instead, I recommend they analyse their competitors’ offerings and marketing strategies to see what’s working well and what could be improved (by you).
  • Identify your Target Market. Every business must have a target market. If you’re thinking that ‘everyone’ will need your product, you’re wrong. Find the groups that suffer specifically from the problem you’re solving, talk to members of those groups and gauge interest. The most interested groups make up your target market.
  • Investigate the Need for Your Product. Search for consumers who need the specific product you’re proposing to offer, remembering that if you can’t find them now, you won’t be able to find them when you need their money. Talk to people. Ask them what they think is missing in the market and gauge their reactions to your idea. Strive to be objective and to include every sector of your target market, always remembering that what you think is a nagging problem that needs solving might not be something consumers see as significant. And one more thing: avoid asking only family and friends for feedback. The majority of reactions should be unbiased ones.
  • Determine if Demand can Support your Business. A few people who need your product aren’t going to sustain your business. There has to be significant and intense interest—enough to cover overhead, your living wage and capital to invest in growth. This means calculating the number of interested people, setting a price that each will need to pay, and then determining if they’re willing to invest that amount of money. You’ll also need to consider repeat business, how necessary it will be to sustaining profit, and how likely first-time customers are to come back for more.
  • Give Attention to Every Player. As you’re gauging interest in your business or product, keep in mind that a number of different roles are filled with every purchase. There are the purchasers (the ones making buying decisions), the influencers (the ones persuading the purchasers to act), and the end users (the ones who will ultimately be using the product or service). The reactions and opinions of each of these players should be honestly evaluated.
  • Keep your Eyes and Ears Open for Opportunity. Often, when researching a new business or product idea, entrepreneurs will discover different (or additional) ways they can serve their target markets. You don’t have to be loyal to your original idea; sometimes, what blossoms from it is far more valuable.

You can gather the information you’ll need through focus groups, surveys and polls, or recent, relevant research conducted by others. No matter how you choose to collect data, always ensure that you’re analysing the numbers as an impartial observer…even if that means enlisting the help of someone you trust.

Have an opinion, advice or comment? Please share it with me below…

Have a beautiful day, beautiful you.