Conducting market research and analysis: learn about your customers

You can't start a new business based on guesses – you need to do real market research and analysis to test your assumptions. If you have an established business, use market research to keep up with the changing business environment.

Why you need market research

Intuition and experience aren't enough to start a business. You need to make decisions based on real facts. Market research is the best way to test your assumptions.

When to do market research

Research isn't a one-time-only activity. Use market research throughout the life of your business, no matter how big or small, old or new. Regular research helps keep your business efficient and competitive.

Visit the Canada Business Network's guide to market research and analysis for more information on when to conduct market research.

Before you start a new business

Market research is an essential part of planning your business, and should be a central part of your business plan. Gut feelings and intuition aren't enough.

Before you launch a new product or service

Even if your business is already successful, conduct market research before you launch a new product or service. Research is valuable any time you want to make a major change to your operations: an expansion, a new market, etc.

To maintain an established business

Market research is also important for established businesses. You need to keep up with where your industry and customers are going. Success today doesn't necessarily mean success tomorrow – you should conduct regular research to stay on top of changing trends.

How to conduct market research

  1. Decide what you want to achieve. What do you want to know, and why? You need clear goals to design good research.
  2. Define your research methods. You might choose some combination of primary research (gathering your own information) and secondary research (compiling information that others have already gathered). Depending on your goals, you might conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups, or use other methods. The Canada Business network has excellent guides on how to conduct market research and market research methods.
  3. Decide who will conduct your research. Will you do all the research yourself, or pay a third-party research company to do it for you? Maybe a combination of both? Do-it-yourself research costs less, but can take longer and be less effective (especially if you have no experience).

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