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Market Research Isn’t Big, Scary, or Corporate

Doing market research is a great way to make sure you’re on the right track with your offering. Ideally, market research is done before the business is actually established so that you can address modifications to the plans before you get headed too far down a particular path - but this is one of those things where the phrase ‘better late than never’ applies. It’s also a good idea to do before making any major changes in your business that affects your customer base. Doing some market research can help you acquire new customers and hold tight to old ones by developing an understanding of what customers want and don’t want, how much they’re willing to pay for products and services, and why they shop where they do. This can be valuable insight to keeping your business successful.

Several business writers agree that too many business decisions are based on what the owner wants to do, rather than what the business actually needs. Fulfilling a need will allow you to be much more successful than just deciding to do what sounds most appealing. You may be skilled at custom millwork and want to base your business plan off that passion, but what if your market research shows that it’s not necessarily what your customers want… and maybe there’s a need in the area for basic cabinet components, with no major source for customers to get them. It’s important to do what you’re passionate about, but if you want to make money, it’s also important to be flexible in a changing market. How are you going to stay relevant if you’re not in touch with the needs of the people who pay you? You probably already do unofficial exploration of your industry’s market by listening to customer input or watching the moves your competitors make, but you’ll have to put in a bit more effort if you want detailed and organized data.