Recently we did a post with an introduction to import export businesses. A friend of mine read this and recommended I outline the pre-import stage. Most people do nothing before going out and looking for a supplier. They won’t have a business name, idea or even a marketing plan, they will simply go out and try to find specific products that best suit their needs. This is the wrong way to do it for a number of reasons, but not least because you don’t know what the market wants!
Market Research Basics
Market research essentially means finding out what the people want. Then as the business owner you will go out and provide the best product or service for a specific price. But if you don’t do the research in the first place, you might be providing a product that nobody wants! And that’s a quick way to lose a lot of money and waste a lot of time!
To give you an example the friend of mine who spoke to me about the export investing article started a business creating leggings (ghost fitness leggings to be precise), he didn’t know the first thing about them but what he did know about was marketing and how people think. So instead of just trying to dive in he reached out to experts in the niche as well as a number of his friends for some market research. He simply asked these individuals a number of questions about what they wanted from a pair of running leggings, what they would use them for, how much they would pay and a number of other market research questions.
This wasn’t something he had to do, I mean this guy is a very talented marketer and could have shifted any quality product that he chose. But the key was he wanted to create a long term brand, and as you probably already know the easiest way to create a long term brand is to create quality and value for whatever you do. And to do that you have to know what people want to pay for a particular product, and what they want out of it.
What to do
So let’s say you’ve been reading this article and you agree that providing value at a good price is the way you want to go with your business. So the next logical stage is market research, but like most start-ups you don’t have the investment to go to a data company and ask for what the “people want” so instead you do this yourself. Below are 5 tips I would highly recommend when conducting your research
- Have a large, wide batch of people – 20+ varying age ranges, genders, interests etc. If your product is specific to one gender or target audience, then ensure the majority of your market researchers are in fact in that particular bracket.
- Create specific questions to ask – People don’t want to have to think, and in fact the data will be better if you give people options on what they have to select. For example colour, sizing, pricing ect. You can also add lines at the bottom of the question that says something like “additional notes” if you want to give someone the opportunity to explain what they mean.
- Only contact relevant people – Sometimes a smaller quantity is better than 100s of people who don’t actually know what they are talking about and wouldn’t consider buying your product anyway.
- Be accurate & approachable – When people talk to you don’t seem distant or that you don’t care about their answers. This will simply annoy them as they believe they are doing you a favour, which technically they are.
- Offer a free sample – This is a great one to improve engagement of individuals. Offer a free product once it goes live with the specification that they will leave a review. This means as soon as your product goes live you have a number of people that will not only leave a review but will also give you feedback on the product too.