Before moving forward with your business idea, it is important to get the facts. Completing basic research - like market research - can save time, money and a lot of heartache. Let’s start with the basics that apply to all aspiring business owners: Do you have an idea or a business opportunity? An idea is fun to talk about, but a market opportunity can make you money. To have a real business, you have to:
- find people who will be willing to pay for your product or service (there have to be enough of them to make it worth your while) – research market potential using census data and demographic databases
- deliver the service or manufacture the product – research production options using business databases
- know who you compete with – research competitors using business databases
- understand whether your product is unique or proprietary – research patent filings
The Missouri SBTDC offers a great Guide to Developing a Marketing Plan. You can also go to and search for Business Research to find libraries and others who can help you. And FAMEE offers marketing assistance for startup and growth entrepreneurs.
The Small Business Administration recently launched an online tool that allows small business owners to see how their company compares to the competition. Research your competitive edge by checking out the SBA's SizeUp tool.