Updated: 17 May 2015 06:39. By, Melkisedeck Shine.

Market research is a step-by-step process used to gather, report and interpret information that you need to know in order to make good business decisions.

Market research will help you find answers to questions such as the following:

• How will people behave regarding a particular topic, habit, activity, decision or business?
• Will my idea work? Can I sell my product or service to make money
• What marketing tools will be most effective?
• How much product or service can I sell?
• Is there a need for more new products or services?

Five steps to effective market research

Every research project is different. The research you do depends on the type of products or service you intend to offer.

While emphasis may change from project to project, the same five steps should be followed in the research conducted by every entrepreneur:

1) Define the problem
2) Prepare a research plan
3) Collect data
4) Analyse data
5) Prepare a market research report

The market research plan should contain the following:

1. Statement of objectives
2. Data you will probably want to be gathering:
• industries/markets you are interested in
• related industries
• competitors/suppliers/distributors
• demographic/customer profiles
• need for primary research
3. Time frame you wish to research

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