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.