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Market research is an essential part of building your business model. Time consuming as it may be, you would be remiss to skip this step. Tap into the student talent of the business class or MBA school in your area as a wealth of helpful, enthusiastic market research helpers. Swap homemade cookies for a commitment to take the online survey you created for free (oh yes, many sites have free survey versions!). Pitch your business idea to the business school – perhaps an MBA student would like to pick it up as their capstone project. Talk to professors about the real-world learning experience your market research needs can provide to their students.

Attracting angel investors can seem a lot like fishing without knowing what the fish are biting on that day: it can change on a dime and seem as arbitrarily variable as the weather. Before pitching to investors, be sure you are well-researched, well-rehearsed and overly-prepared to deliver your “ask.” And even before you begin practicing for your pitch, be sure you’ve started laying the groundwork with potential investors. Entrepreneurs overlooking the emotional aspect of raising money will shirk the arduous work of relationship-building with would-be investors, and be all the poorer for it.

Whether you are starting a new business venture or launching a new service/product, it is crucial that you start your market research as soon as possible. If you don’t understand the cultural, social and economic factors relating to your business, you will unlikely be successful.

It’s fundamental to know if there is a market and the demand level for your product or service. Asking the right questions is equally important as the methods you use to collect, analyze and action the market research results.

A market research is basically getting some feedback about what the market thinks about your business/service/product so that you can make better informed decision about it. Start a basic market research yourself then proceed to hire professional researchers when you are clear about what you want to research. Focus groups, online or offline surveys and direct communication with existing and potential clients are primary research that you can do. There are also plenty of online and local resources at your disposal.

To run a successful business, you need to learn about your customers, your competitors and your industry. Understanding the basics of your business market will help you reduce business risks, identify opportunities and spot current and upcoming problems.

Visit government offices and look into information about businesses, industries and economic conditions.  Consult trade groups and academic institutions to gather research data about business trends.  Use the Internet to find information related to your location and industry.

It is also important to keep abreast of the international factors that influence your business since today’s economy is a globalized marketplace. 

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