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Industry & Market Research

What is market research?

In any business enterprise, it is essential to know your market. Who are your customers and how can your company meet their needs? Markets can be defined by geography, age, gender, interests, lifestyle, or any combination of these things.  A thorough market analysis should include:

  • Size of the market: Different than the size of your industry, the size of the market is how many potential customers you could have. You’ll want to consider everything from your total addressable market (TAM) to your share of the market (SOM).
  • Demographics: These are details about the age, gender, educational level, occupation, and so on for your target market.
  • Psychographics: Different than demographics, psychographics help explain your target market’s personality and lifestyle. This is where you’ll explain how your product fits into your customer’s lifestyle.
  • Geographics: Where do you find your customers? Are they in a specific city or other location? Do your customers live in rural or urban areas?
  • Behaviors: How do your customers shop for and buy products like yours?
  • Trends: If your target market is changing their behavior, it’s important to note those trends and how that will impact your sales.

Source: Industry Research Versus Market Research from Bplans.

Web Resources
Books at Lakeland
What is industry research?

Knowing your industry is also crucial to any successful business venture. It is important to know who your competitors are and what products they sell, what growth (or decline) is expected in the industry, as well as any trends affecting the industry. There are a variety of places that this information can be gathered-- industry snapshots and statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, professional or trade association web sites, and business databases to name just a few. A thorough industry analysis should include:

  • Key players: Who are the key companies or businesses in your industry? Who are the biggest businesses in the industry and what are the core products and services that they sell? What are their business models?
  • Growth: Is your industry growing or shrinking? You’ll want to show in your business plan how much is sold in your industry, both historically and predictions for the future.
  • Trends: If there are trends in your industry, you’ll want to discuss those as well and how those trends will impact your business.
  • Competitors: Who are your key competitors in your industry? Are there businesses who are using strategies that are similar to yours? How are you different?

Source: Industry Research Versus Market Research from Bplans.

Web Resources
Books at Lakeland
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