Time to get out and ask. Market research is your best friend in business. It's the lifeblood and the brain of your business.This isn't a once-only activity - market research needs to a continuous process in what you do. Using market research is giving your business intelligence - about your target market, your product, your pricing, your competition, you partner. In fact, everything!
Let's face it, though, it's scary asking people to tell you what they honestly think about what you're doing - what if they don't like it? What if they think you're too expensive? What if they don't like YOU! Oh my word, it's scary! And yet it's far less scary than failing in your business because you didn't get around to asking people.
Here are the 3 minimum things you need to conduct market research into.
- Conduct Interviews - you need to interview people to find out if your plans are viable. The snowballing technique works well for this, where you interview one person and at the end of the interview ask that person who you need to talk to next. This creates a snowball because you find at least one person if not more by asking your interviewee who you need to speak to next. Your interviews will give you invaluable information about what you are doing.
- Find out what others are doing - you can also interview others in your industry. Ask them about what they are doing, what they find difficult, what works well for them. You'll be surprised at how giving others in your industry are.
- Check in with what people think about your product. Get them to test it, review it, give you feedback on it.
Now you know what you're researching, these are the 3 key steps for effective market research.
- Be sure to be continually researching. Use surveys, interviews, feedback, focus groups, product testing etc - anything that gives you information from others who are not emotionally connected to you.
- Develop an open mindset to the information you get - the moment your ego gets in the way and you start judging the market research data, you will miss the value of the information you have gathered.
- Triangulate wherever you can. This is a research technique where you check in with three options, three people, three groups, three sources of data and so on. You need to check that the information you are gathering is valid.
So you don't know what you don't know? Time to find out. Get going on your continual journey of market research. Set that fear aside, and ask. Hey, you may even find you like the answers you get!