Benefits of Online Research for Start-Ups

V KanchanaKnowing your market and the competition is always a great advantage, especially, for a start-up company, which has no idea of how the market would respond to its services and products. Online research can become a viable technique to generate valuable market insights during the initial phase of launching a start-up in the marketplace. There is always a danger of someone else having the same idea as you and it could turn out to be better and more attractive than yours!

Online research can provide useful information on who the competition is and what are the popular ideas selling in the market.

It can tell you if your idea is still new and whether it can convert into a profitable business for you.

By looking at what others are doing, you can refine your mission, market positioning, and the key features of your product set.

A similar existing business listing on the web can make your work easier in some respects as it would be easier to describe your business idea to others.

While researching online, look into the current market scenario, your prospective customers and a client list to start with, customer preferences and experiences, similar ideas selling most in the market and the competition.

Look into the essential differentiating point for your idea, especially, if your idea seems lost amidst a growing competition in the market.

Even if the start-up is not funded, online research can be your best guide to the market.

Online trade publications, e-newsletters, industry reports and business directories published by various trade associations also act as a valuable resource of information on the industry players.

If nothing comes up in your search, it could possibly mean than this business does not have a popular demand in the marketplace or is an unexplored territory.

Next, check the traffic ranking and compare for the traffic volumes of some of the top ranking sites you found in the earlier search.

This could throw some insight into the potential for your specific business in the market.

Further, studying how your competitors are marketing their products is very important.

SEO tools can be used to check the competitiveness of the search results page.

By using these tools you can see how competitive the market is and the efforts that need to be put in to gain some market share.

These can unearth the right keywords and phrases that your prospective customers are using to reach your competitor websites and can help you in your search marketing efforts.

Note that a search for your term may turn up millions of results, but only a fraction of those sites are actively optimizing for the term you searched for.

These searches will give you a better idea of how big the competitive field really is.

Evaluating competitors’ strategies on Pay per Click (PPC) text ads, social media and branding is also essential in charting out your own place in the market.

Knowing about your customers’ experiences and product preferences can give you a fair estimate of the success of your business idea and the tweaking that might be required before the market launch.

It could be possible that the market is already saturated or that the market is not going to buy in your idea soon.

A short online survey for potential customers can prove to be beneficial to better understand the needs of your prospective customers.

Social media monitoring and tracking discussions on online business communities also plays a major role in understanding customer sentiments and opinion about your competitors.

Social media could also be useful in connecting with potential customers on the internet and developing a strong customer base through linking and networking.

A proper market research won’t only help an entrepreneur to understand how his or her target audience is but would also help to decide whether or not the target audience is ready for the products they are going to launch in their venture.

Even though actual on the ground market survey and interactions with people familiar with the business you want to venture in is extremely important to know the nuances of the business and for preparing the fine print for the business plan, online research provides the momentum to the new venture.

It is not only cost effective but also serves as a constant guide to the success of the business before even going into the entire exercise of surveys and intense discussions.

Before you give a green signal to your business idea, try out online research and evaluate what the market has to say.

You won’t regret doing it!

Kanchana VAuthor: V Kanchana

Senior Marketing Analyst

RMS India