Practical Tips to Carrying Out Market Research for your Agribusiness

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Titi has an idea to start a fish farm at the back of her house. Last week Sunday, she met Mrs. Chima who had started a fish farm six months ago and is doing very well. She already has a cold room and is supplying to frozen food resellers across Lagos! It amazing right? As a sharp lady tired of looking for job or sitting at home it sounds like a great idea to start her own fish farm.

She has the essentials

* A large space behind the house to set up,

*Her nephew is around waiting for university admission; getting staff is covered,

*She has enough saved up to buy the first breed of cat fish plus the feed.

If what Mrs. Chima is telling her is right N80,000 is enough to start and in a couple of months if all goes right she too will become big madam.

Six months after……

Titi is left with a dying business, wondering where all the customers are; even Mrs Chima isn’t of much help as she advises her to keep praying that things would get better. As all this is going on, and she forgot to ask one very vital question before setting out

Who are my customers, what are the opportunities in this business space, what’s the best price for this product?

Market research is an essential part of any business that wants to offer products or services that are focused and well targeted. Conducting a market research before embarking on developing a particular product or venturing into a business is very important. Below are three key tips in conducting your market research.

Identify Your Market

The potential market for your products or services can be defined as the pool of consumers or businesses who would consider purchasing them. In other words, they have a need that your business might help them address. It is key to clearly define your market before endeavoring to conduct research. Questions like is my cat fish farm just for families in communities? Or local/ highbrow restaurants/ joints who offer point and kill food every night? Or retail fish sellers in the market?

Who exactly am I producing for?

Question your Idea/Product

Before conducting your research it’s important to define the product you have in mind. Break it down into bits and pieces. It gives you a clearer understanding of what the product you want to throw into the market is and the form a basis for formulating your market research questions. Critical questions to ask are:

WHAT to produce
WHEN to Produce
WHO to produce for
HOW much to produce
HOW to combine enterprises
WHICH resource to use in producing each commodity

Conduct Your Research

You can conduct your research after generating your research questions in two ways.  Primary research using tools like interviews, surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups, which can identify critical information about the importance of price and certain features as well as the strengths and weaknesses your competitors. Secondary research, leveraging on published online data, statistics e.t.c.

Be Open Minded

The result from your research may not be what you expect but it is important to consider every feedback objectively to make better decisions as regards your product and business.

Bonus: Market research is not only done when venturing into business. It’s also important for existing businesses to evaluate their business, product and conducting a market research is a very apt method.

Zino _)

Omozino Eguh is a career coach with over 60 hours of coaching experience. She helps individuals take their business and product ideas from paper to product. She blogs on career, education and entrepreneurship at http://www.zedtells.wordpress.com

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