Once you have identified the information you need, you can start to gather it. Sources of market research may be ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’. It is a good idea to first conduct secondary market research, then do your own primary research.
What is primary market research?
Primary market research is either conducted by your business or by a research agency you have hired. It is also known as ‘field’ research. It is tailored to find the specific information your business needs. You could use it to test customer opinion on your new product or learn how your brand is perceived.
Some examples of primary market research include:
- focus groups
- examining your businesses own data eg sales and inquiries
- customers’ online behaviour
What is secondary market research?
Secondary market research comes from information previously gathered by external organisations. It is also known as ‘desk’ research. It provides general information about the market and isn’t based on your own business. There are many free sources of secondary market research. The research may be detailed and useful, however it isn’t tailored to your specific needs.
Sources of secondary market research include:
- your local business reference library (such as Invest NI's Business Information Centre)
- your trade association
- your local council or chamber of commerce
- the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) for information on the economy, population and social trends
- business news, including; online, in local newspapers and in business or trade publications
- commercial publishers of market reports - including KeyNote, Euromonitor, Mintel, Datamonitor, The Economist Intelligence Unit and Market & Business Development
For other useful sources of data, see how to do competitor research.
Know your legal responsibilities
- Do you need a licence?
- Get the right business insurance
- Comply with the law when providing goods and services
- Know your customers' rights
- Distance and online selling rules
- Understand pricing legislation
- Buying goods from outside NI
- Selling goods outside NI
- GDPR compliance checklist
- Pay your business rates
- Understand staff contracts and your responsibilities
- Taking on contractors and subcontractors
- Health and safety basics for business
- Know your legal obligations on pensions
Understand tax and VAT
Sell and market your products or services