Before deciding on a marketing research path, it is important for a small-business owner or
manager to be aware of the following common pitfalls that small businesses encounter: 
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• Thinking the research will cost too much. Small businesses definitely face a challenge to afford the
costs of marketing research. However, marketing research costs range from free to several thousands of
• Using only secondary research. The published work of others is a great place to start, but it is often
outdated and provides only broad knowledge. More specific knowledge can be obtained from purchasing
proprietary reports, but this can be pricey, and the focus may not be quite right. Primary research should
also be considered.
• Using only web resources. Data available on the Internet are available to everyone who can find it. It
may not be fully accurate, and its accuracy may be difficult to evaluate. Deeper searches can be conducted
at the local library, college campus, or small business center.
• Surveying only the people you know. This will not get you the most useful, accurate, and objective
information. You must talk to actual customers to find out about their needs, wants, and expectations.
• Hitting a wall. Any research project has its ups and downs. It is easy to lose motivation and shorten the
project. Persistence must be maintained because it will all come together in the end. It is important to talk
to actual or potential customers early.