detectiveBefore entrepreneurs begin working on their business venture, they need to do some detective work. Thinking of starting a business is similar to how you buy a car. You just don’t walk into a random dealership and say you want to purchase a car. You need to do some research before making such an important investment. Bottom line:  You want the car that is best for YOU.

The first piece of detective work an entrepreneur needs to figure out, is if there is demand for his or her product or service. If there is a market, who else is in that market and what market share do they hold? Sometimes gathering market and competitive analysis information requires some detective work of talking to experts in the industry – or even potential buyers of the product or service.

While looking for demographic and economic data for a marketing plan, there is only so much that can be found with a Google search. Finding the relevant data through Statistics Canada or the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder will probably involve having to pay for the information. But that same data is often available for free at your local library or a university library. The detective part can be easier by finding a good a reference librarian who can point an entrepreneur to other specialized databases, again without having to spend too much money.

When entrepreneurs first start out, they may try to locate at home, but quickly learn they need a real office with a real business address. In the course of investigating office-space options, many entrepreneurs discover that they are better suited to a shared office environment at a business centre that caters to small businesses. In finding the right office space or business address, smart entrepreneurs will do some detective work of their own and investigate not only the office space itself, but also the area around it and professionals who staff it.

Entrepreneurs who do the research and detective work before setting up a new small business are more likely to succeed. Doing their homework will also save them money and aggravation in the long term.