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Conducting business research, also known as market research, involves collecting and analyzing data in an objective and systematic manner. This type of research is often conducted in regards to specific target markets or a company’s competitors and is performed through primary and secondary methods. By conducting business research, you can help your company to make informed and strategic decisions, which, in turn, can help the company to expand and increase profit levels. There are many different ways you can go about conducting business research, but the objective determines what method will be most beneficial. Reading trade journals, performing interviews, and creating and utilizing surveys, creating focus group discussions, and more are excellent ways to conduct business research.
Primary research involves gathering data directly from the customers you are targeting through surveys and interviews. Surveys are very advantageous because they can be conducted in numerous ways, including over the phone, on the Internet, through postal mail, and more. When surveys are composed of multiple-choice questions, the answers provided by customers can be viewed as quantitative data. Qualitative data can be gained through interviews of customers in general, or it can be more targeted on specific demographic areas. Many times, you will discover you have to complete further analyses on any data obtained through interviews because the data is subjective and unreliable.
Another type of primary business research used to gain qualitative data is known as focus group discussions. You can implement this type of research by gathering employees or targeted customers into groups that do not consist of more than ten participants. Each group is given a product and then asked questions about it. This information is then analyzed and compiled to present a more well-rounded view of the research.
You can conduct secondary research by analyzing data that is accumulated through various resources other than yourself. This is often accomplished by reading and analyzing data found within trade journals and magazines. These types of readings are easily accessible at libraries and via the Internet. You may even want to subscribe to trade journals so that you can continually perform this type of secondary research.
Other types of secondary research include analyzing data found on investing websites and talking with business professionals and your competitors. In the United States, many companies contact their local Small Business Administration Office, which provides them with resources that can assist in business research processes. Any time you perform secondary research, you are able to gather useful demographic profiles from a single or number of particular locations. The useful data often includes different seasonal effects that are found within industries, as well as different existing laws and/or ordinances and how these laws affect your business.