Business research functions to study the internal and external factors that affect profitability and market share for a company. Several research methods help executives to focus the energy of developers, production staff and distribution forces.
Industry data and competitor analysis is one strong method used in business research to determine if the products and services of one company will penetrate a market. This method uses external data from sources, such as Dun & Bradstreet, and competitor information sources to compare against its own set of products.
Case studies are comprehensive portrayals of how a product or service fulfills one client's needs through that client's experiences, reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the product or service.
Focus groups are designed to get targeted consumers to provide honest feedback and suggestions on a product or service. Groups are generally hired by a third party to give potential customers' the opportunity to express how a product meets or fails to meet their needs and desires.
An interview often follows actual consumers' experiences with a product. Consumers opt in to answer a series of questions that express their level of satisfaction.
Those who interact with the customer base can be trained to obtain valuable information by listening and interacting with clients and consumers. This is an effective method of business research if personnel are trained properly to understand what customers are saying and properly relay that to management.
Questionnaires and Questioning
Whether a consumer is being polled via oral or written questionnaires, the questions must be easy to read, understand and answer. If they are too in-depth, people will be less likely to complete the questionnaire, leaving the company with the expense of producing it with no results to work with.