Research & analysis

You’ve got a business idea you can’t stop thinking about and you’re eager to get started. But before you take the plunge, it’s important to make sure your idea has a real chance for success. We’ve been helping people validate their business ideas since 1996. Here’s what you should know.

Person making a Business Model Canvas

Evaluate your business idea.

For most aspiring and established business owners, having a business idea and imagining the possibilities is the easy part. Finding out if it has real potential for success can be more challenging. Business Link has a variety of helpful resources to help you discover if your idea is a good one.

Start with a plan.

Start by creating a 1-page outline describing what you are selling and whom you are selling it to. Figure out what problem you are solving and what customer(s) you are solving it for.

Download our Small Business Startup Guide and complete the 1-page outline on Page 4. Answering a few key questions will help you start to work out the details of your business idea. If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into business planning, get started on our free interactive Business Plan Builder today.

Do your research.

Next, conduct some basic market research. Some careful analysis can help you answer important start-up questions such as:

  • Is my idea original? If someone else has produced a better or less expensive version of your idea, you will need to figure out how you will be different or if you can compete at the right price point.
  • Who is my ideal customer and where are they located?
  • Who are my competitors?
  • What are the trends in my industry?

Learn more about market research.

Stay current and grow your business by understanding the trends in your industry. Learn more about your competition and position yourself better in front of the right types of clients. This video will explain the basics of conducting savvy research that achieves results.

Primary market research.

This is the research you do yourself or get someone to do for you, where you get information directly from your target market. Primary research aims to answer questions that are relevant to your business, allowing you to gain valuable insight into the key issues that affect you. Don’t worry, it’s much less complicated than it sounds. Common examples of primary market research include survey’s, focus groups, interviews, and observations.

Primary market research can be resource and time intensive, but it can give you some great information to help you validate your business idea. Online tools like Survey Monkey, social media polls and questions features (on Instagram and Facebook stories), and video chat platforms can make it easy and affordable.

Primary research is characterized by:

  • Gathering new data or information specific to your idea.
  • Research that’s conducted by yourself, your team, or by someone you hire to collect it
  • The collected information is the most up-to-date possible
  • The data you collect belongs to you and is not accessible by your competitors

Secondary market research.

Secondary market research involves searching through data that’s already available. It could include looking at information provided by government agencies, trade associations, and consumer and industry databases. This type of research generally provides more high-level, broad information about your industry, customers, or competitors.

Secondary market research data can be difficult to navigate. Also, information that is specific to your industry or geography can be expensive to access. This is where we come in. Business Link’s helpful market research team is ready to help. With access to a variety of databases and experience doing market research for hundreds of businesses a year, we can provide you with the in-depth secondary market research you need to launch your business with confidence.

Learn more about our market research services and sign up for a free market research consultation today.

Other helpful market research resources.

Want to do some secondary market research on your own? There are some great resources that you can access online for free. Download our guide to discover resources that provide information on industries, the economy, businesses, consumers and households, and international trade.

Explore resources for other business functions.

There are some tasks that almost every small business owner needs to complete before they get off the ground. These pages will educate you on some of those essentials to help get you on your way.

Financing Your Business

Creating a Business Plan

Legal Advice

Not sure where to start? Connect with us today.