As a solopreneur or startup you must know this: Insightful, well planned and conducted market research is as important as the product you wish to sell. Your tight budget has little room to waste money developing a product that your assumed target won’t purchase. Some assume the cost of research is cost prohibitive; however, actually the opposite is true. Wasting money on an undesired product is cost prohibitive. In real estate or corporate mergers it’s called due diligence and it should be the first step after you have the idea to create a product, extend a line or launch a new business.
Yesterday a colleague and I agreed that we see hesitancy among some businesses to conduct market research. Insights gained as a result of research allow for fine tuning of a successful product and positive message creation. SCORE (Senior Corps of Retired Executives) offers this advice in their Business Plan for a Start Up Business:
No matter how good your product and your service, the venture cannot succeed without effective marketing. And this begins with careful, systematic research. It is very dangerous to assume that you already know about your intended market. You need to do market research to make sure you’re on track. Use the business planning process as your opportunity to uncover data and to question your marketing efforts. Your time will be well spent.”
You should conduct qualitative as well as quantitative research. One on one focus groups conducted by a skilled interviewer yield significant understanding which can be analyzed in light of detailed research conducted by online surveys or pencil and paper surveys.
Businesses that use sound research are far and away more successful than those who make assumptions without data.