Market research is critical to entrepreneurial success. It is absolutely crucial to understand customer needs in order to successfully launch a new product. Likewise, market research must be conducted on the industry, competitors, etc., in order to flourish.
However, formal market research studies are not always critical. Rather, by asking people who can offer good estimates of customer wants and needs, ventures can answer many questions more quickly and inexpensively.
Consider the following queries and suggestions:
Query: What types of toys will sell well this holiday season?
Suggestion: Go to a playground and ask kids what toys they are hoping to get this holiday.
Query: What exhibits at a local museum do customers like the most?
Suggestion: Ask the janitor where the crowds are biggest and where they spend the most time cleaning up.
Query: What new music products are people installing in their cars?
Suggestion: Ask the workers at a carwash.
While formal market research is often key to a significant product or service launch, informal research can give you important insight, quick information, and ideas for focusing larger, more formal studies. In each market, you must identify the people that interact with the masses and may thus be able to provide insight. These people often include pharmacists, mail carriers, plumbers, hair stylists, and crossing guards, among others.