Planning and using your market research

1. Overview

Market research is about gathering information so that you are better informed and can make better decisions about your business. Planning is an important part of the process and, just as important, is actually using the information you gather. This section highlights the key steps in the market research process and provides you with a template to help you plan your market research.

2. Planning your market research

Before you start doing any market research, make a plan. Having a well thought-out plan of action before you start makes it easier to do the research and keeps you on track.

Be clear about what you want your research to achieve and the types of decisions it needs to help you make.

To establish your objectives, ask yourself:

  • why am I doing this research?
  • what information do I need?
  • how will I use the information?

You can then create your plan with a clear focus on what you want to achieve.

3. Analysing and acting on your results

Gathering information is just one part of doing market research. It is just as important to analyse the information and get the answers to the questions you asked yourself at the beginning.

Be careful not to make the research “fit” your preconceived ideas. Keep an open mind and be objective. Market research is about using your findings to make better decisions. Sometimes that may mean saying no or deciding not to do something.

Take note of the results of your research to refine and shape your ideas. By adapting your initial thoughts to match more closely with what the market wants, you will strengthen your business proposition and give yourself the best chance of success.

Please note: Remember to include the results of your market research in your business plan.

Use this market research planner template (MS Word 15kb) to plan your market research.