In 1859, miners around Mt. Davidson, Nevada were panning and slucing 18 hours a day for enough gold to pay for grub and drinks. They were hampered in their mining by blue clay. The blue stuff clogged their equipment, interferred with their efforts and made mining for gold darn near impossible.
Finally, one man had the dreaded, awful, ugly, blue stuff assayed. To his surprise the results estimated the blue stuff's worth at $3,000 a ton! The blue clay was extremely rich silver ore.
News spread fast and speculators headed to Nevada. One miner didn't get the news soon enough. He sold his claim for $450 and ran through the streets laughing and proclaiming that he had tricked the Californians.
He ended out his career as a peanut vendor.
The person who bought his claim became one of the wealthiest men in the world.
It's too bad that the poor goober hadn't heard of market research. If he had thought about his complaints, done some brainstorming, searched for product information, or even just conducted a simple survey - he may have seen other options and opporunities. Had he done just the tiniest bit of market research, he might have owned the richest silver deposit on Earth instead of settling for peanuts.
Market research can be done simply and effectively and the results can save money and effort. Almost anyone can conduct their own research projects . . . and find a silver lining.
Author Don Doman: Don is a published author of books for small business, corporate video producer, and owner of Ideas and Training (http://www.ideasandtraining.com ), which provides business training products. Don also owns and Human Resources Radio (http://www.humanresourcesradio.com ), which provides business training programs and previews 24-hours a day.