How to Do Market and Industry Research For Small Business - Accion Opportunity Fund
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How to Do Market and Industry Research For Small Business

Explore what market and industry research for small businesses looks like and how to identify your target market.

Market and Industry Research for Small Business

How can knowing your customers’ wants, your competitors’ unique offerings, and the latest market trends help your small business? Market and industry research is your friendly guide, helping you understand your customers and competition, keeping up with trends, trying out ideas, and seeing how well they work. In this article, we will explore what market and industry research for small business looks like, how to identify your target market, how to use your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses to your advantage, and how to use that information to form a marketing strategy. Market and industry research can give you these answers, enabling you to make informed decisions and help your small business succeed. 

Benefits of Market and Industry Research

Market research is like the secret sauce that helps businesses do well. It’s all about understanding how people act and what’s happening in the economy so you can make better business decisions. Here’s how market and industry research can help your small business: 

  • Customer insights: Discover the preferences and behavior of your customers through surveys and interviews.
  • Product Development: Customize product offerings in response to user input.   
  • Smart Pricing: Establish reasonable, competitive rates.
  • Effective Promotion: Create a plan to efficiently market your goods.
  • Competitive Advantage: Evaluate rivals and make well-informed choices.   
  • Keep Up: Remain aware of developments and trends in the sector.
  • Reduce risk: Test new concepts before putting them into practice.
  • Performance metrics: Use sales and return on investment (ROI) to gauge success.  
  • Informed Decision-Making: Use this research to make informed business decisions and build your business strategy.

How to do Market Research 

Market and industry research can guide your business decisions. The process of doing market or industry research usually involves the following: 

Define The Problem

Identify the problem, set clear goals, and pinpoint key questions to streamline your focus and guide effective problem-solving.

Develop a Research Plan for a Roadmap

Craft a roadmap like plan and find your target audience to gather valuable feedback.  

Use Primary and Secondary Research

Use both primary research (like surveys or customer interviews) and secondary research (analyzing existing data from reports or studies). Primary research is gathering original data directly from sources, like surveys or interviews with your customers. Secondary research is analyzing existing data collected by others, such as reports or studies.

Gather Info from Reliable Sources

Get info from trustworthy sources but be careful about any biases. Imagine you’re doing a survey for a new coffee product. If you only ask your coffee-loving friends, you might miss what tea drinkers think. To avoid this, intentionally get opinions from a mix of people to better understand what customers might like.

Analyze Data

Take a closer look at the information by using statistical methods like data analytics and reviewing reports from online surveys. This involves carefully examining the data to find patterns, trends, and valuable insights that can guide decision-making. By applying these analytical techniques, you can better understand the significance of the data collected, helping to inform business strategies and improve outcomes.

Develop a Business Strategy

Utilize the gathered data to craft a business strategy and establish clear goals. This process involves using the insights and information to shape a targeted and effective plan for your business. By aligning your strategy with the collected data, you enhance your chances of success and are able to make informed decisions to achieve your goals.

Act On Your Findings

Take action on your findings to enhance business results and update strategies. With fresh insights, create a to-do list outlining how these results will be applied to your business strategy. 

Market and Industry Research For Small Business FAQs 

 What should you think about when studying your industry?

Why is location important in research? 

  • Location matters because it can influence customer preferences and market dynamics.
  • A retail store’s success can be influenced by its proximity to a busy shopping district. 
  • Consider geographical influences on consumer behavior, local regulations, and distribution logistics when assessing your business environment.

How do you research your competitors?

  • Check out your competition and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses using a SWOT analysis. 
  • SWOT analysis helps the bottom line of the company by highlighting areas of strength to build on, weaknesses to rectify, opportunities to seize, and threats to reduce. 
  • SWOT analysis enhances financial performance, eases operational optimization, and aids in decision-making.
  • Using this information can help you adjust your strategies, strengthen your position in the market, and assess your competitors’ products, prices, promotions, and performance to understand your risks, weaknesses, and competitive advantages.

Why does the size of competitors matter as you do your research?

  • Understanding the competitive landscape, including opportunities or obstacles, requires an understanding of competitor scale.    
  • Gaining a competitive advantage in the market requires you to customize your plans based on your understanding of the size of your competitors. This helps you find potential problems or opportunities.   
  • It’s like comparing a neighborhood bakery to a global pastry chain. The dynamics, scale, and strategies of these businesses are different, making the comparison less meaningful. 

Industry Research Tools


  • Tool: Statista is a data gathering and visualization software that offers a wide range of statistical data and charts. It covers various industries and topics, making it a valuable resource for market research and business analysis.
  • Cost: Free to use, with possible other subscriptions for more advanced features and data sets.
  • Best for: Businesses and researchers looking for diverse statistical data and visualizations to inform decision-making.

Google Keyword Planner 

  • Tool: Google Keyword Planner is a tool that helps users find and target keywords for their websites. It provides insights into search volume, competition, and suggested keywords to perfect online content. 
  • Cost: Free. 
  • Best for: Website owners, content creators, and digital marketers aiming to improve their SEO by strategically incorporating relevant keywords 

Survey Monkey 

  • Tool: Survey Monkey is a free online survey platform that enables users to create and distribute surveys. It offers a user-friendly interface for designing surveys and analyzing responses. 
  • Cost: Free to use, with premium plans available for more features and advanced survey options. 
  • Best for: Individuals and organizations seeking an easy-to-use platform for conducting surveys and collecting feedback. 


  • Tool: Qualtrics is a web-based survey software that allows users to create surveys and reports without the need for programming knowledge. It offers advanced features for in-depth survey customization and analysis. 
  • Cost: Free to use, with paid plans offering more features and customization options. 
  • Best for: Researchers and organizations needing advanced survey capabilities and sophisticated data analysis.

Brand Mentions 

  • Tool: Brand Mentions is an effective tool for checking the online presence of a brand or product. It helps check mentions across various online platforms and provides insights into brand visibility. 
  • Cost: Offers a free version with subscription options for more features. 
  • Best for: Brands and businesses interested in monitoring and managing their online reputation. 

Think With Google 

  • Tool: Think With Google explores marketing research and digital trends by providing free data reports, guides, infographics, and articles. It offers valuable insights for marketers and businesses. 
  • Cost: Free. 
  • Best for: Marketers and business professionals seeking up-to-date information on digital trends and marketing research.  

Google Analytics

  • Tool: Google Analytics is a web analytics service by Google that tracks and reports website and mobile app traffic. It offers detailed insights into user behavior, helping businesses perfect their online presence.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Best for: Website owners, marketers, and businesses looking to analyze and improve their online performance through data-driven insights.

U.S Census Bureau 

  • Tool: The U.S Census Bureau is the best market research website providing U.S census data. It conducts over 130 surveys annually, offering a comprehensive view of demographic and economic trends. 
  • Cost: Free. 
  • Best for: Businesses looking for reliable and extensive U.S census data to support market research and decision-making. 


  • Tool: SizeUp is a business intelligence tool designed to empower small businesses with valuable insights and competitive intelligence. It provides comprehensive data analysis, helping businesses understand market trends, assess competitors, and make informed decisions. SizeUp offers a user-friendly interface and a range of features to support strategic planning and growth. 
  • Cost: SizeUp offers a range of pricing plans to cater to different business needs. Specific pricing details may vary based on the selected plan and additional features.
  • Best For: Small and medium-sized businesses seeking a powerful business intelligence tool to analyze market trends, evaluate competitors, and make informed strategic decisions. SizeUp is particularly beneficial for entrepreneurs looking to enhance their competitive edge and optimize their business strategies.


  • Tool: IBISWorld is a business intelligence platform that provides in-depth industry analysis and market research reports. IBISWorld offers valuable insights into market trends, competitive landscapes, and economic factors affecting businesses.
  • Cost: Offers a subscription-based pricing model tailored to the specific needs of businesses. Pricing tiers may vary depending on factors such as the number of users, access to specialized reports, and the duration of the subscription. Many libraries and non-profits can provide business owners with access to IBISWorld at no cost.
  • Best For: Business owners across various industries seeking reliable and up-to-date market intelligence.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

Market research may seem challenging initially; however, using the research findings to improve business operations can contribute to steady growth. Through your research, recognize market trends, understand the impact of location, and research competitors for a competitive advantage. Leverage free and low-cost resources to take your market and industry research to the next level.

Market research is your superpower for success. Ready to level up? Schedule a free coaching session and embark on the path to success! 

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