What Is the Best Way to Research a Market for a Start Up Business?
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Ah, market research, now there’s a juicy topic.
There is an entire industry dedicated to helping businesses try to figure the opportunities that exist for new products and just how to position those products and services in the mind of very specific consumers and buyers.
It’s important stuff to be sure, but few things beat participating in the market and learning first hand in the lab.
There are, however, some new tools that can help businesses and start ups determine the size of the opportunity in a chosen market as well as testing out their messages and models with chosen target segments and finally turning some of that data into visualizations that help make it more digestible for partners, backers and employees.
Getting the lay of the land
Sometimes you just need to know how many potential customers for your ideal target group exist in a certain zip code or how your business idea stacks up against the potential competition in a market. These tools can help you compile basic stats as you formulate your plans and run your financial models.
- American Fact Finder Database
- Business Dynamics Statistics
- County Business and Demographics
- SizeUp Business Intelligence
- Business Stage from James J Hill Library
- Google Think Insights Databoard
- Google Think Insights
Asking the potential customer
Researchers have long relied on “panels” of consumers that make up target demographic groups to test all manner of business ideas – remember those Nielsen set top boxes? Today a new breed of DIY tools have come onto the scene that allow marketers to define an ideal client and survey ready made panels of consumers.
Visualizing the data
Once you do your business intelligence and compile some facts, figures and data it’s time to make it look good so it can help you tell your story to investors and potential customers or employees. These tools make data visualization a snap.
- Data Visualization Gallery from US Census
- Tableau Public
- Juice Analytics
- Google Public Data Directory
- Many Eyes from IBM
- Google Chart Tools
There you go, that should keep you busy for a while. Did I miss any tools?