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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Why market research is vital for start-ups

To be successful, start-ups need to know the ins and outs of the market they're operating in. Market research is a vital tool to help you launch and grow your business; it gives you valuable market intelligence that you can use to plan and develop your strategy.

By conducting market research you get insights into how your target audience thinks and acts - including their buying patterns. It can also provide information on current market trends as well as shifts in the economy and changes in your demographics.

Launch successful marketing campaigns

Market research allows you to identify new business opportunities. The information you obtain by carrying out market research will help you to build engaging marketing campaigns that reach your niche audience. This is because you can target the specific interests of your current and potential clientele - the information you gather from research will help you better decide who to target and when. It will also provide you with more lucrative opportunities to help you expand your business.

Learn more about your competitors

Market research is not just a great tool to get to know your audience; it can also give you a useful insight into your competitors' strategies. You can compare your business with others, enabling you to track your own progress and growth as well as theirs. Keeping ahead of competitors can be challenging at times, so through understanding the market you can create more concise and focused business strategies.

Improve your decision-making

When you know your market, your audience, your competitors and your products, you can make decisions with a greater degree of confidence and precision. This allows you to minimise the risk of failure. Market research should always be part of your growth plan, since it can help optimise your brand strategy and, by focusing your efforts where they matter, you will maximise your return on investment.

Optimise your communications

By researching your market you can create a powerful brand personality, enabling you to generate promotions and messages that resonate best with your target audience. You want your words to ring true to them, whether that's through your website, social media, advertising or promotions.

Test your messages

With market research you can also test ideas and messages, streamlining your marketing by selecting those that best address the needs, attitudes and aspirations of your customer base.

Every entrepreneur wants their start-up to be successful; the safest way to achieve this is through knowing your market.

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Copyright © 2016 Graeme Donnelly of Quality Formations, part of the Rapid Formations Group, offering a specialist company formation service for a diverse range of company structures.

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