Small Business Market Research: The Ten Questions You're Answering

Ten questions to answer while doing a market research analysis for a small business.

1) Is there an interest in the product or service?

The product that you are researching may be a new one that you want to put on the market or an old product that is now losing money. Whichever the case, you first need to determine if there is an interest in it, which will decide if you go forward with a new product or discontinue an old one.

2) Is there a need for the product or service?

Need items tend to sell better than want items. However, this doesn't mean that a want item will not sell very well. People will buy just about anything if it is presented in the right way to them. If there is a need for the product or service, you want to determine if there will be a big enough market for it before continuing with it.

3) What features do people want?

Finding out what features people would like will help during product development. It may also save you money if you find out there isn't any interest in a feature that you were planning to add.

4) What are people willing to pay?

Proper pricing of your product or service is essential. Knowing what people are willing to pay for it may keep you from having to mark it down later and possibly losing money.

5) How to reach new customers?

Repeat customers alone usually aren't enough to sustain a business, it also needs new ones. Finding out if there is a reason that you aren't getting any new customers is the first step in turning it all around. If you find out there is a product or service that people want that isn't currently available in your area, this is something you could offer to draw in new business.

6) Are our customers satisfied with our current products and services?

Even if your sales are stable, you need to find out if your customers are satisfied. If your customers aren't happy, and if your item is something that is used for a time and then replaced, your customers may not buy it again. Also, your customers may not recommend your product or service to others if they aren't satisfied. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.

7) How can our current product line be improved?

Improving and expanding is what keeps your business on the cutting edge. The sooner you figure out what could be changed about your products, the sooner you can correct it before sales start to drop.

8) Who is our competition?

Knowing your competition is the first step in competing better. You may think you know your competition, but be sure you do not have any that you do not know about. Then, you can determine how you can compete more strongly with them.

9) Should we sell in a new market?

If you are considering expanding to a new market, whether it is selling online, nationally, or internationally, you need to make sure your company is ready. For example, is your company able to keep up with the larger demand for your products? Also be certain that outside of where you currently sell that there is interest in or a need for your product or service.

10) Who is our target market?

Before an effective advertising campaign can be created, you need to know whom you are marketing to. Who your target audience is will affect how you try to reach them. For example, an advertisement geared toward teenagers isn't going to have as much influence on the elderly.

© High Speed Ventures 2011