What is the best way to conduct market research for a computer repair business?

One common question I get at the moment relates to real world small businesses.  The following question comes from a local entrepreneur:

“Me and a friend are considering starting our own computer repair business, however we’d like to carry out some market research before deciding to invest any money. The only strategy we have thought of so far is to stand in a crowded shopping mall and ask people to complete a survey but we doubt this will be effective. I would appreciate any suggestions on other types of market research or confirmation that surveying is a good method and also how many people we should survey to make our data credible.”

You can do several different surveys:

  • local business area; put questionnnaires out in the local catchment area of your business. You can put in a preposted envelop. Keep the questionnaire anonymous, as this will most likely increase the response rate.
  • set up an internet questionnaire (easy to do with for example surveymonkey.com). Put an advert on Google to the questionnaire. The advert is linked to keywords of your area and computer repair business. You can even set up a website for your company and get interest through there.
  • set up advertisement through social media like Facebook

How many people:
In most research, for minimum significance testing you need about 80 to 100 people in the end results. Depending on the survey, you can expect a return rate of anything between 5% and 30%.

What you have to take into account, is how many people do you need on a regular basis to keep your business profitable. Based on that figure, your catchment area and competitive businesses in your area, you can further determine how many people you need in your survey.

For your business you have to bear in mind who is coming to your shop. If you can put your company in an area where there is no competition closeby, I would suggest also expanding your business in areas like small computer equipment (mouse, mousemat, keyboard, cables, webcam) and training courses. Depending on the area you might have the option of offering internet for visitors.

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

Technorati Tags: local business, market research, questionnaire, research, survey, website

5 comments

  1. target small businesses that use computers eg salons, grocery stores etc? since you are starting off .
    References :

  2. online surveys. create a facebook group, promote ads on facebook, leading to the survey.
    References :

  3. Have you ever heard of The Local Index? It’s a new site that provides local businesses a free website to showcase their products & services. It works like myspace but for local businesses. I think it would be a great way for you to get the exposure that you are looking for. They also have a contact Importer to import current customers to your new store, with announcements to keep them updated on your business. Local Business events, networking events and a whole lot more.

    The Goal of this site is to reintroduce the concept of local businesses to consumers as the hip, hot new thing. Instead of Pizza Hut, Walmart, Circuit City and Etc.

    Look for some business samples on

    http://www.thelocalindex.com/

  4. Steve Swisdak

    Nobody is perfect or has the skills to do everything themselves. You need to understand what it is that you bring to the table and what you need to surround yourself with. If, for example, you are very strong at inventing but don’t want to sell then you need to find a salesperson to help you

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