Do Your Research: Planning a Business in the Information Age

As any entrepreneur knows, starting a business is no small undertaking. Aspiring business owners must consider numerous variables before deciding if their business concept makes sense.  As an entrepreneur, you want to know what products and services consumers already have to choose from, how much similar businesses are making, the most efficient way to operate, and what market need you will serve, among other essential questions. Fortunately, the information age has provided us with a wealth of resources that are more readily available than ever before.

Gathering information to start planning a business often starts at the Google homepage. Whether you were in school when computer classes were offered, or you took it upon yourself to keep up with the mp3 generation, now is a great time to be tech savvy and have a dream.

Starting any business involves risk, regardless of the tools available, but the more you know about your industry, the better. You can read business blogs, keep track of market growth, and view the websites of your main competitors to start creating a clear picture of what you’re up against in the fight for market share. The more research you put into planning your venture, the better you can minimize the risks that come along with uncertainty.

In the past, to be aware of your direct competitors, you would have to go out and ask consumers where they spend their money, rely on word of mouth, or physically explore the radius that your business intends to cover. These activities are still valuable methods of gathering information about your business environment, but nowadays, the first step to discovering the competitive landscape can start with the internet. By searching for the products and services that your business offers and including a keyword to pull up location-specific results, you can use a search engine as your personal secretary who has just provided you with a list of your biggest competitors and where they are located.

While you can learn a great deal of information using simple search tools, you should be careful not to limit yourself to one resource. Just as journalists conduct interviews in addition to doing research online, entrepreneurs must dig deeper to uncover the details specifically relevant to their businesses. As numerous businesses and individuals have yet to join the virtual world, do not assume that every resource that will aid in your business’s development has been made available to anyone with access to the internet.

Naturally, the shape of business is changing constantly; consumer behaviors are evolving, and the diversity of products and services makes identifying market needs increasingly complex. Of course your research will never be done, and there may never be a formula for a foolproof business. But what stays the same and keeps getting better is the flow of information. Global communication and information sharing is continually enhanced by leaps in technology and a desire for connection. Take advantage of these resources and prepare yourself for the challenges you will face not only as your try to launch your business, but also as you seek to run it efficiently.


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