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Market Research for Start-ups

Now that you have an idea for your business, it is time to examine whether it will work or not. Firstly, determine what you want to now. Your market research will help you build your business plan and test the feasibility of your idea by asking if you can build the business and will there be sufficient demand for your products & service. Then, decide on how & where to gather your research. You can explore secondary research sources such as newspapers, reports etc and primary research which includes talking to customers, visiting competitors and networking. You will need to look at many things such as:


  • What product/service will you provide.
  • What resources (staff, equipment, premises) will you need.
  • What legal structure will you choose (sole trader, partnership, limited or unlimited).


  • Who are your target customers.
  •  Customer Demographics (age, gender, location, occupation, buying behaviour, lifestyle etc).
  • What are their buying behaviours, for example household retailers find that customer’s view their products online but visit the store to touch the real product.
  • How do they use your competitor’s products.


  • Who & where are they.
  • What do they sell & how much do they charge.
  • What makes them unique to each other.
  •  What are they doing right/wrong.
  • What do customers think of them.


  • Are there other organisations that can help me operate (suppliers, substitutes, local businesses, advertisers.
  • Attend trade fairs or meeting for County Enterprise Boards, Chambers of Commerce etc .to meet other businesses that could become customers, suppliers, and partners or point you in the right direction.


  • We are your suppliers.
  • What is their product range, pricing & service like.
  • What are their credit terms.
  • Ensure you have a back-up in case one supplier fails on a delivery.


  • Are there any legal loopholes that create a new opportunity for companies.
  •  Is there any forthcoming legislation which could affect the market?

Economic environment:

  • Look for growth sectors or areas that are attracting investment from governments etc. Be aware of sectors that are growing such as high-tech start-ups and areas in decline such as new property construction.


  • Look for trends that are becoming popular in society
  • For example the rise of healthy snack foods in the early 2000s or spread of social media worldwide.


  • Look for new technologies that will allow your business to replace existing competitors or facilitate you to do business.
  • For example, the growth of online retailing has allowed many businesses to sell without a physical shop.

Sources of Research:

For further Research:

  • Porters 5 Forces
  • PEST Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis

By Robert Farrell.

For more information contact me via Linkedin


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