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Market Research Tips for Pre-Start Businesses

Starting a new business can be an exciting yet challenging journey. One of the most crucial steps in the early stages is conducting thorough market research. Understanding your market, competition, and customer needs will provide a solid foundation for your business plan and increase your chances of success. Here are some essential market research tips for pre-start businesses, along with compelling stats and facts to highlight their importance:


1. Define Your Target Market

Before diving into data collection, it's vital to clearly define your target market. According to HubSpot, businesses that accurately define their target market are 468% more likely to report their marketing efforts as successful. Consider who your ideal customers are based on demographics such as age, gender, income, education, and location. Additionally, think about psychographics, including lifestyle, interests, and values. Creating detailed customer personas can help visualise your target market and tailor your research accordingly.




2. Utilise Online Surveys

Online surveys are a cost-effective way to gather insights directly from potential customers. Platforms like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Typeform allow you to create customised surveys that can be distributed through social media, email, or your website. In addition, SurveyMonkey reports that 70% of market researchers agree that surveys are a primary source of their data collection. Be sure to ask clear, concise questions that will provide insights into customer preferences, behaviours, and pain points.


3. Analyse Competitors

Understanding your competition is crucial in identifying gaps in the market and making your business unique. Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) on your main competitors to evaluate their market position. Visit their websites, follow them on social media, read customer reviews, and analyse their marketing strategies. Fun fact, a study by McKinsey found that companies that continuously analyse competitors' activities and adapt their strategies actually grow their revenue 2.5 times faster than those that do not. This analysis will help you understand what they are doing well and where they are falling short, providing opportunities for your business.



4. Leverage Social Media

Social media platforms are valuable tools for market research and according to Statista 79% of marketers use social media for market research. They provide access to real-time conversations and trends within your industry. Use social listening tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or your own social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook to monitor discussions about your industry, competitors, and potential customers. Engage with users through polls, Q&A sessions, and comments to gather insights and build relationships with your target audience.



5. Conduct Focus Groups

Focus groups are a small group of potential customers that discuss their opinions on your product or service. This qualitative research method allows you to delve deeper into customer attitudes, motivations, and perceptions. While focus groups can be more time-consuming and costly than other methods, the detailed feedback you receive can be invaluable for refining your business concept and according to a study by GreenBook 55% of companies think that focus groups are the most effective methods of qualitative research.



6. Examine Industry Reports

Industry reports provide comprehensive data and analysis on market trends, consumer behavior, and competitive landscapes. In the UK, sources such as Mintel, IBISWorld, and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) offer valuable information that can help you understand the broader market context. While some reports may require a subscription or purchase, many public and government resources, such as ONS, provide free access to industry data. Additionally, Business Gateway and local enterprise partnerships often offer valuable insights and resources for new businesses.


7. Utilise Keyword Research

Keyword research can reveal what potential customers are searching for online, offering insights into their needs and interests. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs allow you to identify popular search terms related to your industry. By analysing this data, you can uncover trends, optimize your website for SEO, and create content that resonates with your target audience. It is your goal as a business to stand out and be unique and deliver value to your audience as 8.2 million blogs go out a day and 90% of pages get no organic traffic, this demonstrates that keyword research is essential to stand out.



Effective market research is the backbone of a successful business start-up. By defining your target market, utilizing online surveys, analysing competitors, leveraging social media, conducting focus groups, examining industry reports, utilizing keyword research, and testing with an MVP, you can gather the insights needed to make informed decisions and refine your business strategy. Taking the time to understand your market will not only help you launch successfully but also set the stage for long-term growth and sustainability.


Need Help with your Market Research?

Here at SME Centre of Excellence we make it our goal to help businesses start, survive and thrive and achieve their goals. We offer a vast variety of services to help your business from a registered address to accounting we have it all and did you know you might be eligible for funded 1-1 support? Check if your eligible: Support Available To Businesses - Northumberland Small Business Service

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