Market research is essential before you launch a business. Just imagine being a football manager and not knowing anything about your team (your customers), who you are about to play against and how many players they are allowed to have (your competitors) or even the size of the pitch and duration of the game you are about to play (the nature of the market and industry). And then there is the little matter of the rules of the game (the laws affecting the industry). In such circumstances your chances of success would be slim. The President of Harvard Business School once said that if you thought knowledge was expensive, you should try ignorance. As we have seen, you can either create opportunity or you can spot opportunity, but in both cases your creative skills must be linked to a market need. So, you need to find out about market need - who your customers might be and why they should buy from you. You also need to find out about your competitors - who they are and what their strengths and weaknesses might be. This all helps minimize risk and uncertainty and provides some basis on which to make decisions about marketing strategy. For a start-up, any information is probably of value, but the key question that needs to be answered is: why should anyone buy from you rather than from your competitors? If the answer to that question is simply because you are cheaper than your competitors then you need to ensure that your costs are lower than theirs.
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