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Conducting Market Research

When running a successful business, you need to learn all about your existing and potential customers, your competitors and the economic conditions of your marketplace. Market research is the process of gathering and analyzing consumer and economic data to help you understand which products and services your customers want, and how to differentiate your business from your competitors.

Market research can also provide valuable insight to help you to:

  • Reduce business risks
  • Spot current and upcoming problems in the current market
  • Identify sales opportunities
  • Develop plans of action

How to Conduct Market Research

It’s often difficult to know where to begin when making decisions about a business. A little planning can go a long way, so your first step should be to learn more about how to conduct market research. This article from AllBusiness.com provides basic information on how to conduct market research as well as related articles that can be helpful for you to make informed decisions about starting, growing and managing your business.

Sources for Market Research Data

The federal government collects a wealth of data and information about businesses, industries and economic conditions that can aid in conducting market research. The following sources for market data can provide starting points for learning more about your customers and competitors.

Business Data and Statistics

These statistical sources are often used for secondary market research. Secondary research is the most widely used method of collecting data and involves summarizing or synthesizing existing research from sources such as books, magazine articles, white papers, websites, etc.

  • Consumer Statistics
  • Economic Indicators
  • Employment Statistics
  • Income and Earnings

Market research will also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. Population shifts, legal developments and the local economic situation should be monitored to quickly identify problems and opportunities. It is also important to keep up with competitors’ market strategies.