Market research enables business leaders to fully understand the latest industry trends. Shoppers may consider a vast array of products and services, and firms that complete comprehensive evaluations can offer reliable support to clients. 

Small business operators could have limited resources available, but executives can still perform extensive research to learn about their customers. In fact, company administrators can make periodic research a regular part of their operations to ensure that their businesses consistently fulfill clients' requests. 

Franchisees can reap the rewards of market research over extended periods of time. Check out the following tips that can help business owners conduct cost-effective research. 

1. Learn from your rivals
Small Business Computing notes that evaluating your rivals' marketing strategies can help you learn more about the marketplace and find effective ways to interact with your target audience. 

Start your research by visiting competitors' stores. Study how employees connect with clients and consider your rivals' offerings from a consumer's point of view. 

After the assessment, examine your business' marketing plan and implement changes if necessary. The long-term goal is to build a client base that supports your business and helps your company become an industry leader. Taking the time to learn from your rivals' successes and mistakes provides valuable information to franchisees. 

2. Use online resources
Social networks are ideal for companies that promote their brands and conduct market research on tight budgets. Facebook, Twitter and other social networks allow company leaders to learn about their target audience through polls and surveys. 

According to Forbes magazine, franchisees should establish and reset goals when they use online tools to perform market research. Business owners develop immediate and long-term aspirations to chart their progress, but industry trends could cause company officials to alter these goals at a moment's notice.

Franchisees who are flexible and regularly reach out to potential clients can effectively evaluate the marketplace. 

3. Offer questionnaires to consumers
Inc. magazine notes that online questionnaires are simple, reliable options because they allow small business owners to quickly examine the marketplace. 

Questionnaires that include both open- and closed-ended questions enable franchisees to learn how they can improve their operations. Business officials can review feedback from clients and use the information to bolster their efficiency. 

Company leaders should keep their questionnaires short. Market research expert Mary Malaszek told the news source that a lengthy survey can alienate clients, and some consumers may ignore the questionnaire entirely. Limit your questionnaires to 25 questions, as respondents should be able to finish the surveys in less than 10 minutes. 

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