By Uchechi Nwancho Ann

When you are into any kind of buying and selling business, it is your responsibility to engage in market research to ensure that you understand and succeed in your business. Just as it is important to work hard, it is also important to work smart; and having a productive market research strategy is one way you can work smart.

A lot of people might think; “Do I really need to do all these market research things? It’s just a small business I’m running!” Well, in the past when people did not know much, before technology has grown to its current level, and when competition was not this fierce, anyone could run their business profitably without market research. These days, you have to be up and doing if you want to barely survive, let alone make it to the top.

What Is a Market Research Strategy?

A market research strategy is simply a method employed to sustain a business, drive profitable growth, and help the business to stand out against competition.

As fart of a market research strategy, you’re expected to answer questions like:

  • What is the size of the market you’re operating in?
  • Have you ever carried out surveys to find out the consumers’ popular opinions?
  • What is the consumption pattern in your market?
  • What is the level of competition you’ll have to face in your business?

These are just but few of the things you must know if you must run your business effectively. But, to carry out all of these activities can be quite costly, so much so that only big businesses can afford them in most cases.

Does it mean that small businesses are left out of this productive business practice?

Not at all!

A small business can still carry out market research strategy effectively on a lean budget. There are lots of increasingly available resources online these days that make it even easier to carry out market research at a very cost effective rate, and on a small scale.

It is important to note that every business, new or old, needs ongoing market research as it is vital to the long-term success of a company. With that in mind, how then can a small business conduct an efficient market research?

Here are some leading expert tips on market research strategies that can be applied on any the business for the purpose of maximum growth and profits. More importantly, these tips can be applied without breaking the bank.

Start with Yourself

First, you need to call yourself to order by taking some time to go through your expectations regarding your business. Break down your expectations into tiny goals, take them one day at a time and analyze them as often as possible to see how well they are working for the general growth of the business.

One of the toughest things about being a business owner is that you have to make tough decisions all the time. Come up with clear and purposeful questions that can help you fix any tough challenge, answer them to the best of your ability, and do not forget to have the best interest of your business at heart while answering these questions.

Two Heads Are Better Than One

After you have answered the questions the best way you can, it is time to seek external opinions on the subject matter. As a small business owner, you can start from those that are closest to the business; your employees, and their relatives will be a good place to start asking for external opinions.

Then proceed to your customers and ask them for their feedback, too. This might be daunting because a lot of customers may not want to really give their honest opinion. That does not mean you shouldn’t try. Be sure to keep a special eye out for your regular customers. They’ll sure have something useful to say about your business.

Leverage Your Online Presence

Do you have a business website? This is one great way to gather great data for your market research.

It is expected that you feed your website with blog posts and other valuable content as often as possible in order to ensure online visibility and decent readership. If you have been doing that for a while, you should have a good number of customers/audience you can reach out to for their opinion on the subject.

Using social media platforms is another great way of getting people’s opinion. There is no need to be on every social media platform (as this can be time consuming and unnecessary). Facebook and LinkedIn are about all you’ll basically need. You can use other ones as the need arises.

Online Surveys and Questionnaires

You can create online surveys and questionnaires for your small business using online tools such as Zoho and Survey Monkey. These tools create surveys that are simple to complete, and makes it easy to track the results as well.

You can send out the surveys and questionnaires by email to encourage customers, employees, and suppliers to complete them. You can also host it on your website, and encourage them to be shared to as many people as possible. You can attach a voucher, a discount, or a chance to win a price so your customers will have a bit of a motive to provide you with feedback.

Small business owners can grow their businesses without spending much by using these market research strategy tips; anyone that intends to profitably grow a business must be involved in ongoing market research. This is important to the long-term success of every company.

Photo credit: Business figures on a chart from ronstik/Shutterstock