Market Research

How to market research your business idea for free?

You wouldn’t be the first to wake up suddenly at 3am excited about your dream of setting up a new business and being your own boss.

In the cold light of day have you got a viable business idea that will survive beyond the first year?

Around 90% of start-up business fail in the first year so how can you secure your place in the top 10% that do succeed?

My no 1 tip is do your market research…over and over.

The findings you can gather from a range of free market research resources will give you key information for safeguarding your business idea and make a good living sooner than you think.

Market Research – how, why and what can you research with free tools:

#1 Demand for your product or service:  offer free trials or samples, try using free customer questionnaires with Survey Monkey for more honest feedback

#2 Customer base: demographics, age, income bracket, can be provided by Business Gateway, discovered via Google Insights, Census results, even your own database.

#3 Pricing (read our blog on the importance of pricing strategy):  ask existing customers, follow competitors to identify how much people are willing to spend and how often.

#4 Location: online, offline on the high street or at home discover what is best for you, staff and customers again using free surveys and support from Enterprise support like Business Gateway

#5 Customers:  failing to work out the cost of acquisition and retention of customers can make or break a business in the first year. Speak directly to your customers and monitor your outgoings and income very closely.

#6 Funding:  insufficient funding and you’ll fail – overspending and you’ll fail so research the best available interest rates, terms and lending options also speak to your business banking adviser.

#7 Suppliers:  carry out a full review of prices, quality of product and service from a number of suppliers and ask outright for discounts or deals.

Must have free Business Market Research tools:

·         Competitors Marketing Material & Websites, social media. ·         Market reports
·         Libraries e.g. Glasgow’s Mitchell Library business ·         Published trade information
·         Business Gateway ·         Sales patterns
·         Survey Monkey ·         Trade association reports
·         Focus Groups (great way to meet, talk and sell!) ·         Small business forums
·         Networking events ·         Industry & Customer Forums


Never take your eye of the ball. Set time aside every month to research your industry, competitors and monitor your sales trends.

Staying informed you’ll be making better business decisions that ensures your business not only survives year 1 but you’ll make a good living from it too.

Looking for inspiration. Meet Elizabeth Bandeen < > who shares her experience and talks about the rewards to be gained off packing in her job and starting a fresh new successful business.

Get in touch if you struggling to finance a start up a business or looking to expand your business call Simon Murrison on 0141 290 0262.

Have a great summer

Simon Murrison, CA

Business Expert




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