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.