What is Startup Market Research?

Startup Market Research begins as soon as you have a business idea and you ask yourself whether it is viable. It continues as you ask your friends and family if they think it will work and you look online to see if other people are already doing it.

If the initial response to your idea is positive, and you start to think more seriously about implementing it, you will have many unanswered questions. Startup Market Research will help you answer these questions. Engaging with your potential customers at this early stage will provide the input you need to shape your product or service to the demands of the market.

Market research is officially defined by the American Marketing Association as:

“…the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information–information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications.”

Rather than conducting ad hoc research such as asking friends and family, taking a more structured approach can empower you with vital information around which you can build your business.

There are a number of key things you can do to research you market such as:

  • Interviews
  • Online surveys
  • Online forums
  • Give out free samples and ask people what they think
  • Web research
  • Web stats (where does your website traffic come from etc.)

Developing these research skills at an early stage also allows you to make market research a core part of your future strategy, continually tweaking your product based on the feedback of your clients.

Startup Market Research differs from research carried out by larger companies and you will likely have some very specific points that you want to address, but not a lot of money to spend. Therefore you need to be agile with regards to how you collect information and be prepared to do some of the analysis yourself.

Startup Market Research is also really important as it helps to mitigate risk in your business. The more information you have on your target market and you competitors, and the more certain you are that there is demand for your products, the less risk you are taking.

Key things that you should bare in mind when conducting your market research are:

  • Follow a set process
  • Think about what information you need
  • Be agile and flexible and try out different research techniques
  • Build your research skills over time to enable you to conduct better research projects