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Running a new business is difficult in large part because it requires so many different skills. Business leaders at startups are often required to handle a number of different assignments –– some of which are well outside of their areas of expertise. Unfortunately, this causes many professionals to attempt to conduct market research on their own. While it is important for new companies to engage in market research, it’s crucial to avoid some rookie mistakes that could spoil the entire effort. To that end, here are five big mistakes that can significantly affect market research for startups. Learn them now so you can avoid them down the line:
It is very dfficult for organizations to conduct their own market research. One big reason why is because most professionals feel some form of bias toward their own products, services, or brand. After all, if you worked months to develop a new product, you’re likely to feel invested in its success. As such, professionals involved in the day-to-day operations of a company often –– subconsciously or otherwise –– create biased market research surveys, interviews, and questions. Remember, how you frame questions will have an impact on the responses you receive. Which leads us to point number two . . .
Getting a lead or customer to answer a few market research questions can be extremely valuable. That’s why wasting their time with leading or ineffective questions is so frustrating and inefficient for startups. Each question you ask your customer base should be selected and worded carefully. Otherwise, you could end up with irrelevant or highly skewed results.
Both qualitative and quantitative research methods can improve a business's understanding of its core audience. However, inexperienced researchers tend to have a very narrow focus when they begin this process. This can manifest in several ways. Researchers with narrow focus may only survey a small number of consumers. Or, if they elect to conduct one-on-one interviews, they may speak with an overly-homogenous group of participants. Effective research involves casting a wide net and connecting with a diverse array of potential customers. Getting tunnel vision will prevent you from seeing the bigger picture.
Market research takes time. Companies that are desperate to rush a new product to market may skip crucial elements of the market research process like competitor analysis, data tracking over time, and follow-ups with previous contacts. Results from rushed research are often incomplete and (as we touched on above) biased. So unless your team is willing and able to sweat the small stuff that makes market research worthwhile, it’s best to consider alternative options like hiring a market research company.
Market research for the sake of market research itself is unlikely to produce many meaningful insights. Professionals need to have a clear vision of what their company wants to achieve and what they need to learn about their audience before they begin this process. Without a key, overarching structure in place, it’s next to impossible to conduct market research that will deliver much value.
At Research America, we have the experience and the knowledge to help your next market research project and generate meaningful insights. We’ve worked with a large variety of businesses, including countless startups, and we can help your company identify the best research methods to suit your needs. Contact us here to learn more about our services and methods.