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How to get amazing results when researching business options

Business research ideas for entrepreneurs
Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Some business leaders and entrepreneurs can see their product or service in their minds eye, which forms a mental image of the end goal before it has been achieved. However, it’s likely you will need to perform research before you release your product or service to real customers.

Why perform research before releasing your product or service?

Research can discover if customers require your product or service and if customers in enough volume would pay for the product or service.

There are various options to conduct research and analysis. From friends and family surveys or questionnaires to more detailed product research and group customers into different demographic groups.

The desired outcome will focus on the number of people that would pay for your product or service and how much they would pay. This provides the market size and let’s you discover if it’s realistic for you to base a business on your product or service.

Using the following research suggestions shows you how to put time into the best methods to find business ideas.

Follow your preferred customer group online and offline

Understand your customers’ likes and dislikes.

Knowing your customer helps you can provide your customers with a product or service they value. Having more knowledge will improve your marketing, which helps you get your message out and understood by your customers.

Your preferred customers (or customers you believe would resonate with your offer) is where you should focus your research attention. Understanding where your customers are likely to work, live, socialise and spend time online is a good way to reach, meet, interact and start to build business-to-customer relationships.

The more genuine relationships you can build, the more your customers will help you create and improve your proposition, so you can provide more value.

Do something different and unusual with your research

Research is not one size fits all. Every business and every entrepreneur is different.

You’re not identical to your competitors, so you will have different motivations and different ideas for performing your research. If you can add your unique personality or twist to your research, you could do something memorable, which will help provide a unique story for your business. While providing you with research that would not have been available beforehand.

For example, why should an online only business only do online research? Is there a way to use the physical world and where people physically meet each other to gain useful feedback?

Searching through the founder stories of many well-known brands there appears to be a similar theme running through the great businesses. The stand out businesses offer their products and services through conventional means, but their path to success is usually anything but conventional.

Take time to review your competition

Formally assess your competition to understand their capability, marketing and business.

Always focus on your business first and foremost. However, it would be sensible to know similar businesses that you could expect to encounter while you’re in business.

Taking the time to research your competition ill give you a better idea of their proposition, their products or services and how they interact with their customers. You do not want to copy your competition, but if there are areas where you could improve your offering and provide more value to your customers. It would be a good time to review and assess the options.

Survey your existing customers

Even if you don’t have customers, you can always find and survey potential customers

You might have a brilliant idea, but an idea is worthless if customers will not buy your product or service. It would be much easier to find out if you customers’ will part with their money before you have committed to creating your full product or service. That’s why asking customers their thoughts before you go deep into production is always a better move than trying the field of dreams; “ it and they will come…” approach to entrepreneurship.

How do you find customers for your survey? This is something that you should not be asking anyone. If you believe in your idea for a product or service. You should have a target customer mind.

Your target customer will spend their time in the physical and virtual world. You should be able to find your potential customers; either indirectly with marketing or directly by introducing yourself and building relationships.

Don’t outsource research to someone else

Take the time to perform some research yourself. Don’t take the easy way out. Simply take the time to do the work.

Life is full of many approaches to make things easier and less time consuming. Sometimes many of the ideas could be good, but oftentimes it’s a bad idea. If something is easy, anyone could do it and if anyone could do it. Where is the opportunity?

Your business creation and entrepreneurial research process should be hard and time consuming. If it’s not hard and time consuming then there is probably a smaller opportunity than you originally thought.

That’s often the reason why outsourcing your business research is a bad idea. There will be no one that believes more in your business opportunity than you. You’re more likely to leave no stone unturned in trying to find an answer to your questions.

Whereas contract research companies will have different motivations. It also shows that you care enough about your customers to take the time and work on the research rather than delegating responsibility before you have something to sell.

Do some old school work

Get down to the library and mingle with people.

The library might not have been your first thought, but it’s a good option. If your business is focused on a niche or specialised technical area, you’re more likely to find research papers and periodicals in specialist libraries and intellectual property centres.

Using traditional methods for business research
Photo by Luke Tanis on Unsplash

Intellectual property (IP), patents, trademarks, copyrights and other historical information can be found in physical form (and most likely reproduced virtually). You can also check details and delve into the details before making any conclusions.

Furthermore, physical locations are good for events, meetings and seminars focused on local people and business owners. If your business idea is based on local markets, attending physical events at the library or other similar locations can help you over and above pure desk based research.

Final thoughts before you get started on your research

Investing your time in detailed research is an effective way to test your business ideas and get them assessed by real humans. Rather than only your belief.

This way you can ensure you’re making the right decisions for your business by using real world evidence and feedback. Rather than making a decision and taking an action without a clear reason.

Good luck!

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