Do You Really Need Market Research?

Whether you are starting a new business, or just trying to survive in the business that you have owned and ran for years, market research is a neccesary evil.  The good news is that it doesn’t always have to be a 100 page document, complicated, or costly.  It just depends what the reason is that you are doing the research for.  If the reason is connected to alot of money you may need to hire some market research proffesionals to conduct a complicated feasibilty study. 

In most cases Market Research can be conducted on your own.  If  you are trying to see if your idea is feasible, or if you need to prove to a financial partner that your idea will stick, the three main things you want to focus on are:

1. Customers – Who are they?  What do they want? Where Do they live? How do they buy your type of product or service? How much will they pay?

2. Market and Industry – What is your industry like in the market that you plan to serve?  What are the trends? What are the obstacles? What is pricing like? How many potential customers are there?

3. Competition – Who are they in your market? What are their strengths?  What are their weaknesses?  What is your competitive advantage or how are you different from them?

Of course, this is a very simplified approach, but a great start.  The James J. Hill library has a great website at to get you started in these areas. 

And, as always, the SBDC is here to help in anyway that we can.  The IWCC SBDC has more resources to help in your market research efforts.  SBDC counseling is alway free!  Call 712-256-6552 or email me at

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA). All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA