Successful businesses have extensive knowledge of their customers and of their competitors. Market research is the process of gathering information which will make you more aware of how the people you hope to sell to will react to your current or potential products and services.
Whether you are aware of it or not, as a business owner you conduct market research all the time. When you talk to customers about your business or check out the prices of your competitors you are conducting market research. Formalizing the process can produce a wealth of information about your products and services, your customers and the marketplace you operate in.
The level of complexity used in your market research campaign is up to you, as market research can cover a broad spectrum of activities. You can undertake simple activities that can be done on your own, such as creating a short customer satisfaction questionnaire or studying demographic data for your area, or undertake complex ones that require assistance from a professional market research firm. Regardless of the size of your market research budget, the time you have available or your level of experience, some form of market research is possible and it can help you to improve your business decisions.