Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

The BRIDGE New Venture Program Research Guide

Explore industry and market research resources required to assist in the creation of a business plan and prepare for the launch of a new venture.

Primary vs. secondary market research

Market research for startups

Startups MUST do both primary and secondary research about their market.

Secondary research can help your team to:

  • identify, size and rank potential markets
  • provides additional insight into markets validated by primary research
  • identify, size and rank potential customers
  • become knowledgeable about the market or industry in which you operate
  • inform and enrich interactions with prospective customers, partners or investors
  • identify competitors

Secondary research tends to (or tries to) answer the 'how' questions, e.g.:

  • How “big” is the (market) opportunity?
  • How many competitors are there in this market?
  • How much do my customers currently spend on competitor products or services?
  • How often do my customers acquire or use a product or service
  • What are the trends in this market?

Primary research can help your team to:

  • confirm or invalidate markets identified through secondary research
  • identify new markets to research
  • inform product development
  • identify competitors
  • prove product-market fit!

Primary research helps to answer the 'big' questions, e.g.

  • Do people want our product? What problem or need does it address?
  • What will people pay for our product?  What do they pay for competitor products?
  • What do my customers like or dislike about our product? our competitor products?
  • How do people want to buy our product?
  • Who is an influencer in the buying process?  Who is the decision-maker?
  • Is this venture worth pursuing? Do we need to pivot?

Originally developed by Carey Toane and Helen Kula in the INF2325 guide.