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Market Research for Start-Ups and Expanding Businesses

Starting out or expanding? Read our essential guide to Market Research for growing your business, whatever your budget

Market research isn’t just for large organisations with an established proposition and marketplace.

We develop and deliver market research for start-ups and growing businesses of all sizes, providing them with insights they need to successfully bring new ideas to market. Our research helps:

  • Pinpoint the demand for your services and products
  • Identify your target customers – who they are, where they are, what they need, what motivates them, encourages them to talk about you and engenders their loyalty
  • Discover different opportunities in the marketplace you may not have been aware of
  • Support development of an effective employee engagement strategy
  • Isolate how to manage your stakeholders’ needs at different points in your growth plan

In October 2018, the Market Research Society (MRS) launched an initiative supporting SME businesses use of research as a tool to grow their business, including a new website for SMEs providing robust best practice advice and qualified research suppliers. As an accredited MRS partner, we sponsor and support this important work for nurturing small business expansion.

Jane Frost CBE, Chief Executive of MRS, said:

“SMEs account for 99.9 per cent of UK businesses – but many think market research is only for big business and big budgets.  It’s in their interests and ours, to demonstrate the value of research and how, done well, it can deliver customers and growth to the bottom line.”

Tailored, affordable Market Research for Start-ups and SMEs

Our Start-Up and SME market research packages aim to tackle the barriers to using research head on, which is essential for stimulating the use of research and helping companies unlock new opportunities.

One of the biggest challenges for fledgling companies is financing market research.

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a new business or expanding, researching your target market is a fundamental part of effective business planning - it also isn’t as expensive as you might think.

Our market research solutions are tailored to your business goals and what you can afford, so there’s no risk of overspend. Secondly, by acquiring rigorous, evidence-based insight into who will buy/is buying your services or products, what they want from your brand, and how this changes over time will help you build a focussed marketing and sales strategy, securing more sales and building a strong customer base.

Why Service and Product Development Research Matters

Market research helps turn great ideas into workable, profitable products and services. As well as providing customer profiling – showing exactly which customer segments to target - it cuts out the noise, delivering sharp insight into what your customers need and how your solution fulfils that need, including:

  • Understanding what your customers expect from your products and services, helping ensure successful development and take-up
  • Identifying product and service features customers’ want, what form they should take, what makes them appealing and how value can be added to make them even more enticing
  • Insight to market competition – who your competitors are, what their offering looks like, their strengths and weaknesses, how they are tackling the market and their value proposition

Using a variety of effective proven and cutting-edge research techniques, we’re able to gather meaningful feedback from different customer, prospect and stakeholder segments. Each research approach, whether an online survey or focus group, is designed to optimise your budget and, unlike a lot of DIY research tools, ask customised questions that align to your business goals, providing you with a clear action plan of next steps.

Market Research: The Key to Really Understanding Your Customers

Formulating a new business idea is often time and resource intensive. In the intense start-up period, it’s understandable that many new businesses overlook mining customer information or look, but in broad-brush terms. Done well however, thorough customer profiling is a powerhouse for driving growth through marketing.

Here are some key questions B2B and B2C customer research asks:

  • What does the customer look like?
  • Are they a business? Large or small?
  • If they are large, is size of supply more critical than a smaller business?
  • Do they need direct distribution?
  • What does value look like?
  • What does a loyal customer look like?
  • Are they a consumer?
  • Are they young or old?
  • How often will they buy?
  • What are their purchase preferences?
  • What does a value-added service look like? Free delivery or an extended warranty?
  • What will encourage your customers to recommend you?

Answering these questions with our quality customer research will help you create effective marketing and sales plans that ensure you hit customers with the right product/service, at the right time on the right channel.

Using our agile research solutions and analysis systems to garner targeted customer feedback, we’re able to apply client budgets in the most efficient manner and maximise insight.

Customer and Market Research for Identifying New Opportunities

Experience shows that when well-designed, accurately positioned market research is carried out, it will find opportunities.

A classic example is our competitor benchmarking research. By plotting a client’s performance against their rivals, we’re always able to discover something new, from differences in products and services delivered (and/or are being developed) to areas where our clients perform better or worse, opening opportunities to build on these and make customer gains.

If you’re considering developing a new product or service, testing the market to identify how well it will be accepted is critical to its take-up and success. Quality research, even on a small scale, will answer several market unknowns, such as:

  • Will it suit a particular geographical location or customer demographic better?
  • What regulatory, market or competitor threats exist that you need to be aware of?
  • What is the ‘optimum price’ for your product or service? (One that considers all your costs, maximises your margins and is still tempting for customers).

Market research will help you answer all these, along with identifying other risks and weaknesses, enabling you to tailor your offering appropriately so it hits the sweet spot on market entry.  

Employee Engagement Research for Understanding and Getting the Most from Your Employees

As your business grows it’s important to understand what an engaged workforce looks like.

This involves understanding factors, such as what employees anticipate from you as their employer, and their expectations of key areas, such as career development, support, teamwork, performance and rewards they receive.

An engaged workforce is every businesses’ goal as it generates wide ranging benefits, including lower absenteeism, higher productivity and – as a result of staff happily giving and striving to create a better customer experience - higher customer satisfaction and loyalty ratings.

Issuing an employee engagement survey to collect staff feedback is the first step and needn’t be expensive or time intensive to implement. The key is making sure data collected can be translated into actionable steps that will make a tangible improvement to employee engagement. This comes from ensuring you are measuring the right things in the first place – the attributes that matter most to employees.

Our fast, cost-effective employee research solutions are scalable so they can be adapted to the changing needs of your business, from smaller employee satisfaction and engagement surveys to larger employee engagement and experience trend programmes, such as our Employee Experience Research framework. Each programme is tailored to your requirements and provides insights that align with and help achieve your wider company goals.

One of the main challenges for companies starting out is lack of in-depth competitor information, as such all our start-up and SME research is benchmarked. By applying cross-sector insight, we can show where you sit in the marketplace compared to direct competitors, adding further value and context to the results.

Complete, cost-effective research packages for Start-ups and SMEs

TTi Global Research, a division of GP Strategies (TTi) is an experienced full-service UK market research agency specialising in SME and start-up research solutions.

Based in Langley near Slough, our expert research team have wide sector experience and deliver all aspects of customer, employee and stakeholder research. We can take care of your research programme from start to finish, including set up and survey design, interpretation and analysis and results reporting – showing clearly where opportunities lie and where change is needed to get ahead.

We provide a full range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, from short online customer and employee surveys to in-depth telephone interviews from our dedicated CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) station. With all our services inhouse, we’re able to offer excellent research rates and our combined expertise and cutting-edge systems mean we add value at every stage of the research process.

Ready to take your business to the next level? To find out more and talk to our start-up and SME research experts, contact us today using the form below.