This is the age of the entrepreneur, and more new businesses have got off the ground over the past couple of years than ever before.
According to research carried out last year, more than half the UK workforce dreams of starting a business.
However, further research shows that around one in three new businesses will not survive beyond two years. The number one reason for failure? Benjamin Franklin could have told us the answer to that one. He famously said that when we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail, and ill-conceived business planning that fails to fully appreciate the environment in which the business will operate is the biggest barrier to long term success.
Marketing research lies at the heart of understanding your customers, but also your competitors and the broader environment in which your startup will operate. Of course, a new business has plenty of costs to meet in its early stages, and often, precious little revenue in its opening months. Here, we take a pragmatic look at essential aspects of market research that will give your business the edge but not cost you the earth.
Without getting too bogged down in terminology, there are two broad categories of research, primary and secondary: The former is research that is conducted in-house, while secondary is gleaned from other sources, such as existing research papers.
Primary research will bring the biggest gains and insights, as it is focused on your business and customers. If you have the time and experience, you can do some of the basics, such as SWOT analysis and competitor analysis yourself. Alternatively, get in touch with us at Turquoise and we can talk you through some of the tools that our expert analysts use and work out which ones will deliver the biggest benefits to your business.
That’s not to say you can’t make good use of secondary information, too. We live in the information age, and there’s plenty of data out there that won’t cost you a penny if you know where to look. Consider exploring online tools like Google Analytics, and even fora such as Reddit and Quora to understand the hot topics and opinions relating to your sector.
Of course, gathering that information is one thing, knowing what to do with it is something else, so once you’ve done this initial research, it is still worth getting some expert advice to put it to the best possible use.
The above two steps will give you a better overall picture of the marketing environment. But to get real insights, you need to start talking to your customers and potential customers. Again, the online age makes this far easier than it used to be, both in terms of gathering and interpreting the data.
However, before you start diving into the world of social media surveys or online tools, remember the golden rule of garbage in, garbage out. In other words, you need to ensure you are asking the right questions.
Get some expert help
At Turquoise, we understand the pressures and challenges facing a new business. Solid market research can spell the difference between a thriving enterprise and a struggle for survival, so get in touch and let’s discuss how our full colour insights can get you off to a flying start.