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Home > How to Choose a Home Based Business > How to do Market Research for Your Home-Based Business Idea

How to do Market Research for Your Home-Based Business Idea

Business experts advise the prospective home business owner to do adequate market research to determine if you will have the customers to support your enterprise. Corporations and large businesses may spend thousands of dollars to determine who will be the "ideal customer," for their new product or service. You may not have the financial resources like the "big guys," but here are some simple tips to help you define the best customers for your business:

COMMUNITY SOURCES:

Start here because the information is easier to access and where your business will most likely seek its first customers.

 
   *Visit your local public library to look for listings of manufacturers, suppliers, business and telephone directories (to research any competition); local government agencies and associations, local newspapers, and U. S. Census reports which give the local demographics and details of defined populations in your areas and around the country.
   *Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for a listing of local businesses and a profile of area residents.
   *Local home-based business associations can offer networking and referral opportunities. For example, if you have a desktop publishing business, another desktop publisher in your community or association may refer potential customers to you for projects that she does not handle.
   *Friends, family members, and other acquaintances in your community can give you their opinions about your business idea and ask them questions such as, Do they think such a business is in needed in your area? What would they pay for your products or services? What do they like (or do not like) about your competitors’ products and/or services?
 

 

 

SUPPLIERS:

Suppliers with whom you have contact often can give you some insight as to present buying trends.

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS:

Trade associations in your industry often have local chapters which you can join and gain useful information about the latest developments in your industry. Attending and later exhibiting at their trade shows can give you valuable feedback on your business’ products and/or services.

MEDIA SOURCES:

Local cable and national television channels and home business and trade publications can provide the latest trends and buying patterns of potential customers to help you determine your "niche" (or best) customer market(s).

INTERNET SOURCES:

Internet sources and sites can help you gather statistics, network with others in your field, and reach potential customers from either your own site or being listed on a group’s site.

TEST MARKETING:

Do your own "test marketing." Start your home business (or businesses) on a part-time basis and get customer feedback through questionnaires or follow-up telephone calls about your products/and or services, your prices, your handling of customer complaints, and most importantly if they would use your services or products again. Test marketing may also help you discover untapped markets, and possibly lead you to go into a dramatic redirection of your business with the result of larger profits.

BOOKS:

Books on future consumer and business trends like Clicking by Faith Popcorn, Future in Sight by Barry Howard Mink, or Trends 2000 by Gerald Celente which can give you some insight for your business’ direction.

If you concluded from your research that your business idea will not have the customer base to support itself, do not despair. Do similar research in nearby communities on your business con-cept which may offer a completely different market—and customers that will be receptive for your new venture. It may take considerable time, plus trial and error to identify your target customers. The better you know your market, the better you can focus your energies on the products and services that will gain you customers and the development of a successful business.

Priscilla Y. Huff writes on the topic of home and small business issues, specializing in women’s entrepreneurship, and has conducted her business, LITTLE HOUSE Writing & Publishing from her home for the past ten years. She is author of the best-selling book, 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, and the just-released book, More 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, Prima Publishing.

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