Want to Work for Yourself but Don’t Know Where to Start?


by Kristin Marquet

Do you get lost in your business plan?

You’ve decided to leave your job and start your dream business. Nonetheless, as you organize your business plan, you’re at a standstill purely because you don’t know how to conduct market research. You don’t know how to determine who your market is. You also don’t know the best way to reach them.

Read these tips to become the master market researcher.

Market research involves a lot of work, everything from collecting information about potential customers by studying certain demographics, psychographics, and geographics to conducting surveys to analyzing data. Yet, once you’ve gathered enough information on your target market, you will be able to determine the best marketing channels to connect with them.

Setting your goal blueprint - Goal planning is the most important aspect of conducting market research. You must determine what your monthly and annual goals and objectives are before conducting market research. Your goals can be anything such as superior customer service, late hours and convenience, increased sales and website traffic.

Read what your potential customers read - Research trade magazines, news and fashion magazines, newspapers, and any reports to determine the demographics of your target market. Review media kits to understand purchasing habits. By researching these publications, it will help determine the profile of your ultimate consumer.

Surveys, questionnaires, and interviews - Use telephone, email, and mail to conduct surveys. The most cost effective way to conduct online surveys is by using a service such as www.surveymonkey.com. You can also give your customers incentives to fill out questionnaires. For example, if you own a bookstore, offer a 25% coupon off the next purchase if they fill out a questionnaire.

Customer and Employee Feedback - If you have established clients, ask for feedback. Use questionnaires, interviews, suggestion boxes, an email address where they can leave feedback or message board forums on your website. Ask your employees for feedback since they are in contact with your customers.

Monitor all foot and web traffic, conversions and sales - Monitor your sales records and website conversion rates if you have an online store. Study your employees’ sales tactics. If they are not closing deals, put them through intense sales training to increase your bottom line.


If you need help conducting market research, contact Kristin at km@marquet-communications.com. Kristin Marquet is a regular contributor to the Secrets of Success blog.

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