Get the Right Data (Know the Market, Know the Customer)

BAny manager can only be as good as the data they’re analyzing. In order to make important decisions at a start-up, a manager will need data on customer behavior, sales estimates, industry trends, and a slew of other information. A paradox in the start-up world is that most of the data you need to understand the market and your customer base won’t be available. Understanding what data is available and what data is unavailable is the most important thing for a manager at a new venture.

The best data that helps to understand your market and the customer is internal information obtained via historical results. If you are a new start-up, the information isn’t available. This begs the obvious question, “what can you do?”

Its unlikely that other players in the industry will share data that you can use for analysis. This information is usually considered proprietary. Luckily, there is other data available that may help you to understand markets and customer behavior. Industry reports can often be purchased, put together by consultants working in the market or trade groups. The only problem with this data is that it won’t be specific to your effort. It may help paint a broad picture, but it won’t give insight specific to your market and your customers.

Another source of broad information is government data. Census data and other related information is often available to help understand demographic information and behaviors. This will help you understand your market on a general level. Information such as average consumer spend in certain areas will help you understand how of a customer’s disposable income they’re likely to spend on your product or service.

Thumbs UpTry This: Hire interns to scour the internet for reports and public data related to your potential market. Use this to paint a broad picture of the market and the general behavior of customers.



Thumbs DownAvoid This: Don’t become overly reliant on industry reports and public data, at the expense of your own knowledge of the market. Trust your instincts and knowledge of the market.



Be careful what data you review:

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