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Top 3 Market Research challenges every small business owner struggles with (and how to overcome them)

Small business market research

As a new small business owner or someone who has been running a small business for a while without much Market Research experience, your first thought might be “Where do I get started?” 

Whether it is Business-to-Consumer (B2C) or Business-to-Business (B2B), the recipe to launching or running a successful business could be broken down into these basic steps: 

  1. Identifying the right market
  2. Performing competitor analysis 
  3. Targeting the right opportunity and/or audience 
  4. Executing it the appropriate way

Market Research acts as an indispensable tool for a small business owner, which helps you succeed in your business journey by achieving your goals faster. It enables you to make the right decisions, by understanding the motivations and behaviors of your consumers, competitors, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders. 

That explains why Market Research is a huge industry by itself, with a size of $73.4 Billion USD (worldwide) and growing at a rate of 6% each year (as reported by the Statista Research department in 2019).

Challenge #1: Performing Your Own Market Research Vs. Outsourcing

As a small business owner, operating within a limited market research budget is the main challenge.  Based on your budget and expertise level, you can either choose to do the market research yourself or outsource it to a market research organization. 

Doing your own market research especially in the early stages of building your business can give you deeper insights into your customers and their thought processes, and save you significant operation costs.

In some cases, before launching the business, it might even be beneficial to buy a market research report online based on your industry. Look for reputable market research firms that typically publish industry reports, where you can gather valuable insights specific to the field you are interested in.

If you don’t have the time and resources to do your own market research, outsource the market research operations to a reputed organization. One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing market research is that most participants will be more honest and accurate with their feedback, due to the transparency, anonymity, and confidentiality that is maintained by the market research organization.

Challenge #2: Choosing the right Market Research technique

Most businesses use one or more of these basic market research methods:

  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Personal interviews
  • Observation
  • Field trials

Among these various market research methods, the most commonly used ones by small businesses across varied industries are surveys or focus groups

Surveys have the advantage of giving you high representativeness and an easier method of gathering data, in a cost-effective and faster way. Conducting focus group research provides you with in-depth and high-quality feedback from your target audience. 

You can use the most appropriate market research technique or a combination of techniques as it suits your needs. Regardless of the market research technique, it is important to try and make use of new next-generation tools and techniques, to accelerate your market research. If you want a primer on some of the new tools and techniques that can accelerate your market research process, please read our blog post here (Next-generation Market Research).

Challenge #3: Managing multiple Market Research projects

Every small business will have multiple market research projects going on at the same time. These projects might be related to marketing, sales, product research, and other areas of the business. To make sure you are not missing the mark, it’s important to know how to collectively manage all these projects. 

As the number of research projects that you undertake grows with time, tracking progress, and taking appropriate actions becomes even more challenging. To understand the rationale on why market research as an aggregate is trending upwards, please read our blog post here (Need for more Market Research). 

Market Researchers can find it challenging to get actionable insights within a specific time when handling multiple projects. To run a successful market research operation, you need to manage projects, teams, and stakeholders to achieve target milestones. Market research is time-consuming and requires a lot of planning; you need to map out your current and future market research plans faster with proper tools. 

To learn more about how Pinecrow could help you overcome these challenges, watch a short video here (Rationalize and re-shape your Market Research Operations with Pinecrow). 

Overcoming Market Research challenges

Once you have assessed your market research challenges, you need to establish a streamlined process to improve overall efficiency. The best way to figure this out is to test your assumptions early and standardize the process for others in your organization to follow. If you can manage your projects well and engage in quality market research, then you are on the right track to creating a good business.

Instead of spending your valuable time doing repetitive tasks and manually creating workflows and reports as part of your market research operations, you can use Pinecrow that is fully customized to meet your market research requirements. With Pinecrow, you can easily manage multiple projects and get insights from your multiple market research projects through automated workflows, state-of-the-art reports, collaborate with teams, eliminate redundant processes, and much more. Using Pinecrow small businesses have benefited from improved visibility and transparency in identifying their project progress and future roadblocks.

To learn more about how Pinecrow can help you manage multiple market research projects, schedule a demo here.

Summary

Pinecrow has tried to articulate a cloud-based (SaaS) project management approach to overcome the market research challenges faced by small businesses.

The methods and principles that we have incorporated within Pinecrow will help keep your projects on track, while saving lots of time. Here are some of the benefits that small business owners have experienced, using Pinecrow:

  • Building a survey workflow in just a few clicks
  • Organizing and assigning tasks to teams to take immediate action
  • Prioritize tasks and notify when they are due for action
  • View KPIs from a single Dashboard to monitor market research project health
  • Reducing the time to launch a survey by up to 50% 

To see how Pinecrow helps other small business owners overcome their market research challenges, schedule a demo here.

Additional Resources:

  • Market research and competitive analysis – a tried and tested approach to finding opportunities is market research as explained by the US Small Business Administration. You can find valuable resources in determining the state of the economy in general and also specific to your target geography, demography, etc. You can also find what employers and employees say they need in the surveys conducted by the government that can help you determine market gaps for your product/services. 

Guide to How to Do Marketing Research – if you are fairly early in the process and are wondering where to start in identifying the right research techniques for your business.


Vinu Narayanan is a Co-Founder and CEO of Pinecrow, a SaaS platform for Market Research teams that centralizes all their Market Research data and makes it easier to search, explore and find insights with just a few clicks. After spending 15 years of working in market research, I am still fascinated with human behavior and the everyday prospect of figuring out why people make decisions in a certain way captivates me. I love researching how thoughts and actions motivate our behavior. The best part is understanding how people make decisions, and coming up with statistics to prove or disprove my findings! In short, I do what I do to better understand the world around us.

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