How to Get Started with Market Research

market_research_basicsMarket research is a critical step not only for global corporations, but also for a variety of small businesses and start-ups. Although it may be tempting to rush into the product development phase as soon as possible, it's important to gather objective data and market analysis in order to build a viable business strategy.

Just ask your local chamber of commerce. Many business associations stress the importance of market research and offer useful tips to help entrepreneurs and small business owners learn how to conduct market research effectively. Here’s a roundup of articles that provide practical insights on gathering business intelligence.

1. Researching Your Market — The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce in the UK provides a list of specific steps that will help you get a clear picture of your customer base and assess your business idea. Each topic is broken down into sections and digestible nuggets of information, making this article a quick and useful read.

2. 10 Tips for Doing Market Research — California’s Small Business Development Center Network shares a variety of advice about market research, from researching your target customers to creating a SWOT analysis of your competition to conducting online surveys. If you want a straightforward checklist to point you in the right direction, this is a helpful resource.

3. How to Use Market Research: An Entrepreneur's Perspective — Founder and CEO Rob Granader discusses the importance of using data when strategizing new ways to drive growth and innovation. He provides specific examples that demonstrate the value market research reports can provide for entrepreneurs, whether they are looking for new revenue streams or assessing potential competitors.

4. Conducting Market Research? 5 Official Sources of Free Data That Can Help — The U.S. Small Business Administration published a list of free sources of government data that you can use to analyze consumer demographics and understand your market. The U.S. Census Bureau,, and are a few of the sources included, among others.

5. Market Research Mistakes to Avoid — Small Business BC shares the most common mistakes businesses make when conducting market research, such as using inadequate reference materials, researching the wrong group, and relying on one set of data. Using your friends and family as your only source of primary research is also discouraged.

6. Market Research Guide — The Queensland Government explains market research methods and how to define your market research objectives. The guide also explains the difference between primary and secondary research and quantitative and qualitative research. You can also get quick tips on planning your market research and interpreting the data.

7. Market Research Habits of Highly Effective Start-Ups — Developing good market research habits is crucial when launching a start-up. This article outlines key steps entrepreneurs should take such as asking the right research questions, setting a realistic budget, and considering your business from all angles.

For more information, download's free white paper How to Use Market Research to Launch Your Business.

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Marketing Writer/Editor