Market Research on the Cheap

There's no need to spend a bundle on professionals when you can do Internet surveys, mine government data, or even take a clipboard to the mall

Large corporations spend millions on sophisticated surveys and focus groups from established researchers such as Harris Interactive (HPOL) and Survey Sampling to determine whether their products or services will appeal to customers at a price they're willing to pay. But for entrepreneurs operating on a shoestring budget, there are ways to gather key information about your customers and prospects without hiring an outside firm. Here are five practical suggestions to keep in mind.

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