When you own a home business (especially on the internet) it is vital that you know your market inside and out. For a business to achieve success and to make money online, the first thing that the owner must learn about is their market. The American Marketing Association defines marketing research as “the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services.” Researching about your market will help you answer important questions for your business and more importantly, see your business as others do. Different research techniques can be used to help you identify what makes people buy from your business, how much they are willing to pay for your product and how they can be reached. You will gain a clearer picture of your target market and get to know them and their needs better. And last but not the least, doing market research for your business will help you gain insight about your competitors-uncover key information about them-and perhaps reveal ways to out perform them. So if you’re wondering where to begin or what is an effective way to do your market research for your business, read further to find out. Define the problem or opportunity You must take time to identify what you really want to learn and find out about your business through market research. To get the right answers, you must have a clear understanding of the issues you want resolved by the research. Plan the project At this point you have to identify your resources for your research process. You decide what methods to use to collect your data, how much will it cost you and the duration of the entire research process. Collect the data In most cases, data collection for a thorough market research process will combine the acquisition of data through different techniques and methods . There are a variety of methods you can use to get the data you want. The most common of which that most businesses use are surveys. A survey allows you to find out the views of a large number of individuals. One simple way to do it is to set up an online survey. Visitors to your web site can be presented with a pop-up box inviting them to take part in the survey. Although a survey is a quick and easy way to get data from your customers, the disadvantage of surveys is that they only give you a statement of how someone feels at that particular moment they took your survey, but not why they feel that way so another option is in-depth research in the form of individual interviews or focus groups. You need just about less than 10 people to take part in this activity. Use a framework covering the areas you want to investigate and then allow the respondents to talk freely and surely, you will learn something about your product or business that you never thought was worth paying attention to. Using the Information At this point, recall the questions you need answered by the research for your business. That information and data you gathered needs to then be organized and assessed logically for your online business.