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By Jeff Cornwall

Entrepreneurial success can be greatly enhanced through good research. Having strong data and other information is critical for sound business planning. Kauffman's eVenturing has just release their latest collection of articles, this one dealing with Market Research and Competitive Analysis. However, good research should never stop with the business plan during start-up.

Entrepreneurs should keep up to date on industry trends. Most opportunities come from change. But the very change that got you into a market can just as easily make you obsolete if you do not keep up with the continuous change that seems to be the norm for most markets today (see this post for more on this topic).

You need to be aware of your competitors and how they are trying to get your customer's business. There is always competition (see earlier post on this here), and you need to assume they are trying to improve their business and take away your market share.

And the key to understanding trends in the industry and competitive environments comes from a clear and honest understanding about what customers want and how well you are meeting their needs. Listen to your market!

So think of the ideas and tools from this collection as not just for start-ups, but for any business in a dynamic and competitive business.

Jeffrey Cornwall is the Director of Belmont University.

Dr. Jeffrey Cornwall, a director of Belmont University, holds its Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship.
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