Making good decisions for your business means seeding your decision-making process with data: this gives you a firm foundation for the choices you make and ensures you aren’t being guided more by your desire for success and self-belief than the facts.

To help you build this data foundation, you need the right tools: trying to gather and interpret data manually is a big job, and more than you can realistically take on. This is why even small businesses can benefit from partnering with a market research firm to ask the right questions, get a broad, demographically representative selection of results and interpret them into answers that tell you what to do next for your business.

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The best market research companies will give you access to the tools you need to get data quickly and reliably: in the digital age, the cycle of briefing an agency for the questions you want answered and waiting for results is outdated: startups are used to moving fast, and to move fast with confidence you need data at your fingertips.

What you’re looking for is a Market Intelligence Platform that works for your business. This gives you direct access to the ongoing research of agency, the ability to tap into their datastream and pull the results you need with the minimum of delay. While more complicated questions may require individual briefing, framing and waiting for results, access to the platform gets you simple answers quickly!

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The important thing is to find a market research agency that you can work with successfully. Not every research agency is going to be a good fit for every business. Find someone that specialises in your niche: the firms that have experience and insight into the Fintech field and its customers won’t be as helpful for you if you’re trying to build out your catering company for example.

It’s also well worth having a face to face consultation before you commit to an extensive programme of research: get to know the values of the people and company you will be working with. If you have different priorities it may be better in the long run for you to look elsewhere. As important as these tools are for your brand, if you are looking for slow and steady growth over years, then a market resource solution that boasts of itself as an accessory to growth hacking won’t be a partner in a mutually beneficial business relationship!