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Good instincts and intuition certainly play important roles in business. However good feelings about your customers’ needs and preferences aren’t enough. If you want to minimize risk and improve your chances of success, you need sound and objective data. That’s where market research comes in. Market research is the process of collecting and analyzing information about the customers you want to reach, called your target market. This information provides you with the business intelligence you need to make informed decisions. Market research can help you create a business plan, launch a new product or service, fine tune your existing products.
Laurie Bebout made a dramatic career change: She quit her job as a nuclear-safety engineer to run a door-to-door advertising business. Why? Because a year ago, in a moment of frustration, an entrepreneurial idea was born — an idea that Bebout has since devoted weekends and evenings to researching. When Bebout, 34, and her husband moved to Paducah, KY, she was annoyed to discover that coupons were not delivered in the mail. Bebout wanted to get coupons without having to buy a newspaper, so she turned her grievance into a business concept. The rookie businessperson founded Precision Advertising Distribution to deliver ads and coupons to doorsteps.
Do you trust that your clients will pay, your partners will stick to their agreements, and your competitors aren't doing anything that affects your company's well-being? In the world of business, trust often depends on how much you know about the companies with which you're doing business. Where you look for that information, and what you find typically depends on the size of the company you're trying to investigate and whether or not it's publicly owned. Small, privately owned companies are more difficult to research because they aren't required to make public much information. One of the first places you should search for information on private companies is in your local newspapers. Don't limit your search to one paper or to the front section.
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