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Tips and tricks for researching the market

When it comes to owning and running a small business, we want to be aware of what's going on in our chosen market all the time. We want to be aware of gaps in our market, of needs in our market that we can fill, of what customers are saying and how businesses are responding. Let's look at some tips and tricks for researching the market.

- In order to be effective as possible in small article such as this is, let's pull a small business out of a hat and use it as an example of effective means of research the market. In fact, let's stay with pulling things out of a hat and say that our small business is supplying magic supplies for both professional and non-professional magicians, for both the casual hobbyist and the man or woman really dedicated to their craft.

- As a small business owner, we want to research the market in order to find gaps in our specific business, that is, magic products such as card decks, specific tricks, complicated devices for stage shows, and so on. There's a lot of stuff out there to read, but fortunately one of the advantages of being a small business owner is that the niche we have to explore has been narrowed down very much for us. We've got to focus on one thing, in this case: How can we learn from the market what to take advantage of when it comes to magic supplies here and now?

- As with most kinds of research, we should start with a general approach. We want to familiarize ourselves with the overall map of our corner of the market, so to speak, before visiting specific destination. We want to research the market in a general way, by becoming acquainted, for example, with our competitors.

- What are our competitors doing to bring in more business? How are our competitors grabbing the attention of those amateur and professional magicians amongst us? What are our competitors selling the most of? What are they selling little of? Answering these marketing questions successfully will lead to immediate rewards. If we discover what our competitors are selling the most of, we can refurbish our stocks accordingly. If we're able to see which items are trending downward, we can prepare in advance.

- Another key tips for researching the market is spending a lot of time on those sites where customers gather to talk shop. Customers of all sorts talk shop all day online these days. We can be certain that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs and chat rooms regarding magic and the best suppliers of magic supplies just a few key clicks away. Reading and following these conversations is one of the most effective ways possible of keeping one's thumb on the pulse of the market.

- If we daily familiarize ourselves with our customers via the places they gather to talk, take notes, compare notes, complain, praise, etc., right away we've got a huge advantage over our competitors who, whether from lack of time, foresight, insight, laziness, etc., are busy with other things. One of the first rules of knowing the market is that the marketer can get a marvelous sense of which way the winds are blowing by listening to the marketed.

- Another effective way of researching the market, of course, is by belonging to those groups that have come together in your specific area in order to exchange ideas, form alliances for advertising purposes, and so forth, online and elsewhere. It's the old idea of I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine, but it works. The more the demand for your specific small business product, the more of that product you sell, and the more of that product your competitors sell. These two approaches, talking to marketers and listening to the marketed, are a great way to start researching the market for your small business.

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