The steps in the business research process are gathering data and studying the market and industry; assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an endeavor; and studying the target audience. These steps should be followed repeatedly, especially when introducing new products or services.
A key step in the business research process is determining whether or not an opportunity exists within a certain market. Before investing time and money into a new product or service line, a company should find out how much market share the competition holds. The market share determines the potential profits for the new venture. Secondary research, data that is already available about a company or industry, gives information about the size, competition and sales history of an industry. Agencies such as the NPD Group and Forrester Research conduct this type of research via customer surveys, focus groups and interviews.
One part of business research is called a SWOT analysis, in which a company conducts an assessment of the potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an endeavor. This entails analyzing industry data to look for specific market trends and consumer preferences that help companies develop business plans. The company should also study the product or service target audience, which lends direction and focus to marketing and sales efforts.