What are the best ways to conduct market research for a business on a small budget?

One of the local businesses in my city asked me the following question

“I am starting a business that has not been started yet, and I need to conduct some market research to answer some of the questions about the business. I was thinking about just going to the mall and giving people a questionnaire, but there has to be an easier way. Are there any websites that offer market research solutions for small businesses? I need to create a survey/questionnaire and have a few hundred people answer it. Does anyone know how I can do this. Thank you very much. Yes I am on a budget, but I can spend about $1,000. If I could spend less that would be great, but I do have a little money to spend.”

There are several websites where you can set up without much problems your own questionnaires. For example http://surveymonkey.com, http://www.freeonlinesurveys.com or http://web-online-surveys.com
They all offer free set up, the option to distribute your surveys and to easily get the results from your survey.

When you have set up your survey, you can follow two paths. You either set up your own business website and ask people there to complete the survey. Or you advertise (for example on Google) to get people to answer your survey. Although this means spending some money on advertising, this might fall easily within yoru budget.

You can also make a print version of your questionnaire, distribute them in your local area and have a freepost envelop included for return.

Asking people at your local mall is a good idea, but will be time consuming, especially if you need several hunderd results.

However, you can go for a combination of the above. Set up some online questionnaires, distribute some locally and do some footwork at your local mall.

master research

Technorati Tags: budget, market research, market research solutions, questionnaire, research budget, sample, small business, survey, website

  1. If you’re on a budget, then actual footwork is the best way to go. Dress nicely, then develop a very short but concise questionnaire. There are websites available but they are pricey, as well as there’s nothing like developing relationships with the public.
    Also, the interviewee might be willing to give you their contact information, which you can use when you’re finally in business.
    References :

  2. internet marketing can be cheap or costly… but compare to print media then a lot cheaper.

    post article link to your business and even show cost for free at http://www.usagirls.org

    recommend blog as many as you can for people read then buy (soft sell) ..many

    many community allow you to create free poll and it’s free (time is what you will spent).. hope that’s help
    References :

  3. You have to be careful about developing a worthwhile surveying tool. It’s useless to spend all your time getting results if what you’re asking is unusable. The key is to ask simple, unbiased questions. Using scales or lists is much easier to classify, but the in-depth data comes from asking open-ended questions. If you live in a city with a university/college you may want to contact a research methods class and see if they are willing to take on your research as a class project for a small fee. Getting it done right can save you a fortune in the long run.

    If you do decide to go to the mall and do it yourself, remember that you need permission to do this, and you will be kicked out if you don’t get this. Also don’t expect miracles, during my last set of ‘on-site’ interviews, it was sometimes difficult to get my required 10 interviews in the 5 hour shift, and I was offering $5 to each person who completed it!
    References :
    I work in market research.

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