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Entrepreneurship - the Early Days of Creating and Testing your Product.

If you’re a new business with a great product you want to present to the world no matter what your product is you will probably go through the same early stages.

It’s probably safe to say that when you came up with your idea you thought of it because it fills some gap in whatever market you’re aiming it at and as such you are utterly convinced of its necessity in the world and certain that you are going to be able to sell it. However, as most small startup companies know it’s easy to make a few prototypes and even fewer finished items but to make your company really big what you need is business startup funding and sometimes getting it can be easier said than done. If you don’t have the cash in your wallet to get your company all the way to market yourself (and a lot of people don’t) then this funding can be a real lifeline.


Why Do Market Research?

Market research is the most important tool a start up business has in its possession. Not only does it validate your faith in your product and prove that there is a market for it but it also gives you critical early insight into whether you have got it just right first time or whether you need to go back to the drawing board and make some adjustments before you release it. This sounds like it creates more work in the long run but what it may actually do it save you time and money in the future by preventing you from making the costly mistake of releasing a product too early and having customers lose faith in it before you have a chance to fix it.

How to Conduct Effective Market Research.

The whole point of market research is to test your product on the people who will actually be buying it. So if your product is a new kind of ice cream for kids then your research should be conducted with children. The basis of good market research really is that simple. Start by advertising for people in an appropriate age range or job or public sector using any means possible. In today’s increasingly digital world a really eye catching web advert will probably catch the attention of a lot of people.

Alternatively (assuming your product is portable) you can literally take to the streets with it, as long as you are careful to try and pick out candidates from your demographic this can be a really educational experience. Not only will it allow you to demonstrate the product and get immediate feedback from those using it but it may also open your eyes to a whole new market.

Make sure that you keep accurate records of all the data and opinions you collect, have testers fill out surveys or comment cards and make sure that you collate the data in a way that really shows a true reflection of what you found out.

What Happens Next?

Now that you have your market research neatly collated into pie charts or graphs it’s time to look hard at what you’ve learned and possibly make some hard choices. If your company is made up of a few people it’s good to take the time to sit down together and discuss in detail everything that you have learned. You will probably find after spending so long totally immersed in a project you were committed to that the testers have noticed things you either hadn’t thought were a problem or hadn’t even noticed. When you come across things like that you need to take a good look at them and decide whether they can be fixed. If they can then that’s great and probably means that you can go on with taking your product to market but if they can’t you may have to look at whether it is going to be easier to find a way round them or go back and start again from scratch.

Of course what everyone wants is for the product to be so well received that everyone who tested it loved it and ordered one right there on the spot but even well established companies rarely have this kind of good luck. What you will probably have is a list of bugs to fix and a month or two to fix them but once you have at least you will know that the version of your product that you are putting out is as good as it can be and that any problems that arise afterwards will be relatively small compared to what might have happened.

Research cycle