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Market research and competitive analysis

Market research helps you find customers for your business. Competitive analysis enhances your business for growth and sustainability.

Use market research to find customers

Market research combines consumer behavior and economic trends to confirm and improve your business idea. It’s important to understand your consumer base from the start. Market research lets you reduce risks even while your business is still in planning stage.

Gather demographic information to better understand opportunities and limitations for gaining customers. This could include population data on age, wealth, family, interests, or anything else that’s relevant for your business. Then answer these questions to get a good sense of your market.

  • Demand: Is there a desire for your product or service?
  • Market size: How many people would be interested in your product or service?
  • Economic indicators: What is the income range and employment rate?
  • Location: Where do your customers live and where can your business reach?
  • Market saturation: How many similar options are already available to consumers?
  • Pricing: What do potential customers pay for these product or service?

You’ll also want to keep up with the latest small business trends. It’s important to gain a sense of the specific market share that will impact your profits.

You can do market research using existing sources, or you can do the research yourself and go direct to consumers through market survey.

Existing sources can save you a lot of time and energy, but the information might not be as specific to your audience as you’d like. Use it to answer questions that are both general and quantifiable, like industry trends, demographics, and household incomes. Please visit our Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC) for support and advisory services. Asking consumers yourself can give you a good understanding of your specific target audience. Here are a few methods you can use to do direct research:

  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews

For guidance on deciding which methods are best for your small business, the Delta State MSME Development Agency will be available to provide business support and advisory services through our various resource partners.

Competitive analysis to find a market advantage

Competitive analysis helps you learn from businesses competing for your potential customers. This is key to defining a competitive edge that creates sustainable revenue.

Your competitive analysis should identify your competition by product line or service and market segment. Assess the following characteristics of the competitive landscape:

  • Market share
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Your window of opportunity to enter the market
  • The importance of your target market to your competitors
  • Any barriers that may hinder you as you enter the market
  • Indirect or secondary competitors who may impact your success

Several industries might be competing to serve the same market you’re targeting. That’s why you should make sure to differentiate your competitive analysis by industry. There are many methods for doing this, including reading our strategic policy document. Important industry factors to consider include level of competition, threat of new competitors or services, and the effect of suppliers and customers on price.