Market research is one of those tasks the majority of people typically try and avoid because it can get pretty time consuming and costly. Yet this should not distract from the importance of market research, as it’s the key to providing you with the information you need to start or grow your business.
There are a variety of ways in which you can go about conducting your own market research. Maybe some will appeal to you more than others. Take a look through the list below and decide what’s best for you:
A SWOT analysis is one of the most popular types of market research. With this method, you’re able to analyze the internal and external forces affecting your business. You can use a chart, diagram or even a simple list to create your SWOT analysis; it’s the content that really matters here.
Here is a breakdown of what goes into a SWOT analysis:
- Strengths: These are internal strengths that your business has. Here is your opportunity to look at what your business does well, what you excel at, and where you’re showing growth. Your strengths are typically tangible qualities and assets that set you apart from your competition. Looking at your internal strengths also gives you insight into future goals.
- Weaknesses: These are your business’ internal weaknesses. This could be anything from where your resources are lacking to what your competition is nailing but you’re missing the mark on. The good news is you can optimize your weaknesses, work together, and pivot to turn them into strengths. Even though looking at your weakness can be discouraging, it is a great analyzing tool to determine where you can improve.
- Opportunities: These are external areas where your business can improve on. You may have to do a little bit of research to find external opportunities because it requires discovering underserved markets, emerging needs, or where your competition is slipping up. Opportunities are typically based on current trends or world events that may affect your business and give you a potential opportunity to capitalize on.
- Threats: These are external threats that you cannot necessarily control. In this section you would include the aspects that are affecting you in a negative way; like negative media coverage, a transitioning environment, change in your customer’s attitude towards you, or even emerging competitors.
Haven’t gone through a competitive analysis with your company yet? We highly suggest you take this as a sign to do it! Essentially this process will see you laying out all of your competitors on a chart, and then inserting all of the components of your business — big and small — into the chart.
Using this method will allow you the opportunity to rate both your business and your competitors based on points like price, quality of product or service, and more. It takes an offensive and defensive approach, so you can acknowledge any potential threats or opportunities all in one go.
By conducting a competitive analysis, you gain insight into how your business compares to your competitors. You can rate your competitors using a number scale or even just descriptions, depending on the business.
CRESTED Scan (External Environment Scan)
An external environmental scan is commonly used for new and developing businesses. It examines all of the ongoing trends in the world so you can decipher what may or may not affect your business.
The purpose of this analysis is to help you understand the current conditions of the world and then decide whether those trends will directly impact your business or not.
Take a look below to learn how you can do your own environmental scan and the various components that come along with it:
- Competitive Analysis: Conducting a scan of your competitive environment is one of the first things you should do. This means doing your research on all of the external competitors and how they might potentially affect your business. Now’s the time to look at companies all around the world that have the same idea as you and determine how their business is doing in comparison.
- Regulatory Analysis: Determining regulatory trends is crucial for your business. Regulations are always changing and developing, so being aware of these trends ensure that your ideas will comply with incoming regulations.
- Economic Analysis: As we all know, the economy loves to fluctuate up and down. As a result, most companies can’t help but be affected when society is. Taking the time to research past and upcoming economic trends ensures that you are aware of trends that may come, and therefore prepared if possible.
- Socio-cultural Analysis: Society is changing everyday and thus humans are developing their culture alongside it. Scanning the socio-cultural environment gives you a better understanding of trends you can optimize on to widen your consumer base.
- Technological Analysis: Technology is tough to stay on top of. As soon as a new shiny tool is introduced, humans are already finding ways to utilize the user friendliness of it. These technological trends can either help or hurt your business. That’s why being ahead of the game as much as you can and researching and analyzing these trends is so crucial.
- Environmental Analysis: With each passing year, the concern for environmental issues continues to heighten. Citizens are getting more and more involved in being environmentally conscious and aware of anything they can do to support the world around them. As a result, there are certain steps businesses can take to optimize on their ecological footprint, so take the time to research environmental trends!
- Demographic Analysis: This trend is key when it comes to your research because this is how you find your target audience and pinpoint the current trends going on around them; the trends they’re most interested in. You can tweak your products and services based on current demographic trends.
So the next time you want to start a business, or optimize your products and services, or even just gain a more in-depth understanding of the market around you, it’s definitely worth taking the time to dive into any one of these market research methods. More often than not, you’ll always come out stronger than you were to begin with.