Research is essential to determine if your business idea has a chance of being successful. In the process of business research, all types of data are gathered in order to better define the startup’s focus and to determine what products and services that customers really want. Business researchers utilize a variety of research methods to gather relevant data so that business enterprises can make educated decisions.

Established businesses also use research to determine whether they can succeed in a new geographic region, assess competitors or select a marketing approach for a product.

For a new company, research can help entrepreneurs see to accurately gauge consumer demand and see how the competition is performing. Research can also benefit the business that is currently in operation as it can be an ongoing effort to spot new trends or to gauge departmental performance.

Utilizing a variety of research methods can give the startup or the established business a well-rounded look at their endeavors. Here are some types of business research techniques utilized by corporations.

1. Data collection

Entrepreneurs that are interested in a certain business endeavor are well served when they start off researching their idea through secondary data such as government and trade association data about the industry and market sector that they wish to enter.

Prospective business researchers can benefit from research skills. The USC MMLIS program focused on generating the evolutions needed to bring information sciences into the modern age can be a stepping for you if you want to make business research a career. You will be equipped to find data regarding industry sectors, trends, and direct competitors’ performance.

2. Surveys

A survey can be one of the more inexpensive research options, especially if it is done online. Succinct surveys that are more likely to be completed can be launched for free on a survey website that can be linked to your own website or social media post.

Telephone surveys can possibly be more in depth, but only if the person agrees to be questioned on the phone. Mailed surveys still have a niche, especially if they are targeted to a very specific group, but cost more to launch and administrate.

3. Interviews and focus groups

Interviews and focus groups take much more time to administer but offer a much deeper look at consumer preferences and behaviors. Both individual interviews and focus groups are made up persons from the target audience of the company and offer the interviewer the chance to clarify answers with follow up questions. While offering a larger sample in less time than interviews, focus groups can be more subject to bias from participants or facilitators.

4. Website

In addition to placing an online survey on your website, you can also put traffic data from your website to good use to spot trends in page views and keyword use. Analysis of who is visiting your site can make you aware of consumer demographics that you have not yet focused on. There are also research website resources that can help you keep an eye on what the competition is doing.

5. Case studies

A case study is one of the most time-intensive research propositions, but can yield a depth of information about your prospective product that you cannot get otherwise. In a case study, a member of the target audience for the product is given a product sample and asked to use it at home for a period of time.

Used for consumables as well as durable goods, case studies include surveys, interviews, and observations of the person using the product. The goal of a case study is a total assessment of the product that is complete as possible.

Whether you are planning a startup or thinking of starting a new product line in your already established business, research is a necessity in order to navigate the marketplace’s opportunities and obstacles.

Understanding the strengths and unique insights to be gained from a variety of research techniques will help you make better decisions and increase your chances of success in the marketplace.