Research is another important aspect of starting a business. First of all you will do research initially to decide whether a business idea is actually feasible or not. All organizations use research, an obvious one is market research to determine what the needs of the market are, what people think of various aspects of a product, its qualities, price, packaging and how it compares to competitors products. Sometimes companies will pay large amounts of money to have research done for them to end up making the smallest changes to their products and not always to their benefit. A lot of research that is done has absolutely no benefit to the companies paying for it at all.
First of all you need to determine what you actually want to gain from your research, it is important to be as focused as possible in this area as it will determine how much time and money you will have to commit to your research. So you need to determine what the information is you want to obtain and what the decision is you are aiming to make as a result. Keeping yourself result-oriented will help a lot in speeding up your research as you do not have the time or resources to waste on research that has no value.
Next you need to decide where the best places are to get your data. You could look to your customers, your suppliers and your competitors initially and then to secondary sources such as existing statistics and reports relevant to your particular market. The internet is obviously a very valuable resource for getting research data but it is all too easy to get swamped with simply too much information so it is a good strategy to start out analyzing the data that has already been collated by other sources before embarking on a potentially costly research campaign of your own. Whenever possible you need to compare results of data from different sources in order to avoid the mistake of basing your decision od just one source that could be incorrect, out of date or in any other way not accurate.
Sometimes the research may take longer than you anticipated, you may not have access to 100% of the research data you wanted to make the decision but time is another factor that can be the making or breaking of any business and you may find you simply have to make the decision before all the data is available to you. In this case it is certainly better to go ahead and make the decision in time with only 50% od the data available than to make the decision with all the data available but too late to meet the deadline.
Once you have decided the amount of time and resources you are prepared to commit and are focused regarding the decision you need to make, you have identified the area you want to do your research in, where you are going to get your data from and you have a time frame set, you are ready to go ahead and do your research. This is called a research action plan and it can be extremely effective in helping you to make very well informed decisions regarding your business.