Most people stop doing research when they leave the classroom. Some don’t even do a particularly good job while in the classroom. One of the steps most young businesses overlook, though, is the value of doing research before enacting any new business plan or even getting into a particular market or area.
While primary research will provide the most specific data to your needs, the cost of surveys, interviews, and focus groups can prove to be prohibitive, especially for small businesses, startups, and those negotiating the costs as they enter a new market sector.
The least expensive form of research you can perform is secondary research. Secondary research is the gathering, summary, and analysis of pre-existing research. While you may not get exactly the details you are looking for, with enough effort put in you can find most of your information, and then fill in the gaps with primary research or with educated assumptions.
How should you start your research? Far too many people see the blank, ominous beginning of the process and turn the other way. But it doesn’t need to be scary. First, break down the process into its component parts and then tackle each one individually. The steps are easy enough to follow.