Research Methods in Business

INTRODUCTION 

Starting a business isn’t an easy task. Market research provides a fundamental ground for start-ups. Market research ensures any new business start-up runs smoothly; connecting with its target market. Moreover, market research provides a valuable option to competitors or even filling a much-needed gap in the market.

There is a variety of methods used to get an accurate picture of the market landscape. However, the type of data you require and the budget you’re willing to spend on business research will establish which research methods you use.

This article deals with four basic business research methods. These start-up methods can provide a strong foundation for making key decisions. The decisions could mediate on whether or not to set up a particular business or to improve a business idea.

Before establishing your start-up, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions. They are:

  • How many consumers out there will buy my product or service?
  • Who are my potential consumers? 
  • What competitor are they currently using? 
  • How much would they be willing to pay? 
  • Am I entering an already saturated market?

These are all the types of questions you’re expected to tackle in order to establish the level of opportunity for business growth.

QUANTITATIVE SURVEYS

Quantitative Surveys involves one of the more common business research methods. The survey allows you to assemble vast amounts of data in a very short space of time. And, it is done at a comparatively low cost. 

A quantitative survey should always be preferred over a qualitative survey. A quantitative survey allows you to identify a numerical output. The output is helpful in answering your research question.

For example, a start-up needs to determine the size of its potential market. And, the market may be determined by quickly surveying 1,000 consumers or professionals in your field. When researching the market, there could be 50,000 consumers or professionals. 

The professionals would potentially be interested in your product(s) or service(s). Then, what it may require is that simply multiplying the amount of positive survey responses by 50. This will help you identify the size of your market.

Put simply, the research method is a very powerful one. It is very helpful in determining a specific figure to support your analysis.

FOCUS GROUPS 

This rather provides a more refined approach to business research. Focus groups usually is usually made up of small clusters of people. The groups of people fit the profile of your target market. 

Within these focus groups, you can introduce a discussion around your product or service. This will allow you to take full advantage of the depth that interviews afford.

Focus group insights can prove very important in market research; it humanizes your business proposition. Thus, it enables you to understand how people feel about your product. With this proposition in place, business owners can identify potential trends and opportunities through discussion alone.

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH INTERVIEWS

One-to-one interviews are related to focus groups. This type of interviews includes open-ended, unstructured questions. These options give the interviewee the freedom to express himself or herself. It’s a great opportunity that will allow you to get a deeper understanding of a user’s point of view.

And, the point of view can be attained regarding a product, service or company.

An interview includes follow-up questions. The questions will allow you to look into deeper, but this brings with it its own issues too. A careless interviewer can potentially prejudice interviewee answers by asking leading questions that don’t subsequently offer a true reflection of a user’s opinion.

QUALITATIVE CASE STUDIES 

Case studies provide hatchling start-ups with an even more all-inclusive understanding of how a potential customer interacts with a product or service. It offers you a more complete picture of their satisfaction, usage, and attitudes.

These three aspects are relevant towards a specific product, service, or industry in appropriate context.

It’s an astute means of refining your business proposal, using target customers to produce something that’s meaningful and create value for your product or service. This will eventually set you apart from your competitors.

For instance, you might choose to deliver your product or service idea to a well-known individual or professional within your industry. As a result, you will be able to test the idea over a period of time. It’s this type of insight, which can be invaluable in solving teething issues with your concept.

Moreover, it might also expose the potential for gathering needs that consumers are badly seeking within your industry.

But which business research methods work best?

In truth, there are pros and cons involved in both qualitative and quantitative analysis. There is no doubting that quantitative surveys and research can bring statistics and a numerical consideration in a short space of time, but it’s also hard to recognize the bigger picture of your target market.

For instance, quantitative analysis can demonstrate the size and range of a target market but it does not tell you of how to place your brand in the market to provide you the best possible chance of expansion.

In an ideal world, you would unite the two in order to get a versatile view of your industry, giving you the best probable opportunity to take your business idea in the right direction.

SUMMARY 

Market research methods such as focus groups and particular case studies give you the color to mould your marketing security, describe your general idea and place in the market i.e. price points and target demographic.

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