Our survey of small to midsize companies around the country confirmed that the customer is still the best source of market research for new products and services. Surveys of would-be buyers, other forms of polling, and powwows with colleagues also ranked high as springboards for product ideas. Nearly 40% of the group spent less than $1,000 out of pocket to conduct their market research.
Top sources of market research for new products:
73% Current customers
52 Networking with colleagues, mentors, and other entrepreneurs
46 Gut instinct
43 Informal poll of potential customers
41 Information on companies in the industry
35 Trade journals
15 Focus groups
14 Seminars and courses
8 Consulting or research firms
6 Public library
4 Local universities
*Note: Numbers add up to more than 100% because of multiple responses
Source: A survey of 173 CEO's, 57% with sales of $10 million or less, by Inc. and The Executive Committee, San Diego, 1992.