Before you do anything else in business, do your market research

Before you do anything else in business, do your market research

Posted: Thu 13th Feb 2020

You have a business idea, what's the first thing you do? Pick a name? Choose your stock? Get social media set up? Get a team together?

Before you do any of that, there are some important people you need to understand – the customers you want. Without your target customers, you don't have a business!

Businesses that invest time, money and brainpower in learning about their target customers grow faster and last longer than businesses which don't.

What market research does for new businesses

Market research will help you make the right decisions about where to invest your time, money and effort. If you get it right, it will make your business plan easy.

How? When you start to learn about your target customers and what they want:

  • You get more customers because you know where to find them and why they buy

  • You create products or services that are exactly what they want

  • You can create a brand that resonates with them

  • You can create marketing that converts to sales

  • You have evidence to back up your decisions about where to invest your time, money and effort - you're not just hoping you're right!


  • You're confident you're creating a business which will succeed

  • You can inspire the people you work with – and sell to – with a clear picture of who you serve

  • You can avoid having big decisions going round and round in your head

  • You have more fun! Because you're learning all about some of the most important people in your business

Why new businesses sometimes get stuck

Market research is something that new businesses sometimes get stuck on or try to do as little as possible of! There are a few reasons for this (for a start, it's a totally new skillset for most people) – but a big one is fear.

If you've got a new idea for a business, product or service, it can make you feel vulnerable to put it out there and ask your target customers what they think of it. What if they hate it or just think it's a bit rubbish?

This is a worry that 99.9% of the time turns out to be unnecessary. If you've put time and thought into your business and your ideas, then chances are you're onto something.

But how good would it be to know – for sure – that you're creating a business or product or service that is pitch-perfect for your customers? And that everything about your marketing is working to its full potential?

The other worry is spending too much time 'going down the rabbit hole', when new businesses have too many questions and get overwhelmed or confused by answering them. And this is where doing a few things in the right order can make the process a lot easier.

How to get started with market research

Here's how to begin your market research so that it gets you the answers you need.

  1. Start with the right questions: Begin by brainstorming all the questions, then identify the ones that are really important to help you achieve your goals.

  2. Follow a clear process: Plan your research. Think about how desk research, qualitative research (otherwise known as 'speak to some people') and surveys can help.

  3. Be curious: Go into it with an open mind and a sense of curiosity and excitement about what you will learn. As well as making you feel better, it will get you better results as you'll spot the unexpected. And, so often it's the slightly unexpected answer or the thing that doesn't quite make sense that turns out to be a hidden treasure.

  4. Like your target customers: These are going to be important people in your life, you need to like them and be interested in them! If you're not… they may not be the target audience for you.

  5. Keep the end goal in mind: What you will get out of this is a better business. Products and services your customers will love, and marketing that connects with them more strongly. And the confidence that you're putting your time, money and effort where it will make the most difference.

  6. Get help from someone who knows what they're doing. A good market researcher won't just help you ask the questions in the best way, they'll be in your corner through the whole process, making it simple, helping you think and working with you to uncover what to do to grow your business.

Relevant resources

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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