So it’s that time of year again. The season for resolutions, new starts (is there such a thing as an old start?) and good intentions turned into actions.
It’s also the perfect time to put a market research questionnaire into action. No kidding. And no, it’s not nearly as dull as it sounds.
Typically, small businesses owners are, at this very minute, making promises to themselves about the year ahead.
I’ll make a plan. A real plan this time. A complete plan. With everything from sales forecasts to a promotion schedule. And I’ll get my positioning right. And I’ll work on my branding. And I’ll figure out the perfect elevator speech. And I’ll have a marketing calendar to focus on. And I’ll work according to a budget. And I won’t make any more snap advertising decisions. And I’ll make a list of marketing tactics to try out. And I’ll network with anyone and everyone. And I’ll evaluate everything in real time. And…
You get the picture.
That’s all well and good. But the road to good intentions is paved with bad decisions.
And the first bad decision is to tackle everything at once.
The second bad decision is to try and change things without really knowing why.
So before you start putting your ideas into action, make sure they have a solid base. One of the best ways to do that is to take a snapshot of your business. To know where you are headed, you really need to know where you are now.
And the best way to get a sense of that, is to ask yourself some questions. Almost any questions related in some way to your business will help you work towards figuring out your plan for the year.
Think of it as a mini market research questionnaire. Only you’re both asking the questions and responsible for getting the answers.
Market Research Questionnaire – Start Here
These are deliberately “big” questions and they’re not written in typical marketing questionnaire language. This isn’t a scientifically valid approach. It’s a “get your act together” approach instead. The questions are not the only ones you should be asking and they’re not in any particular order of importance.
- Who are your present customers?
- What do they buy?
- How often do they buy?
- Do they buy more than once?
- What do they think of you and your business?
- Who are your competitors?
- What makes people choose you over them?
- What makes people chose your competitors over you?
- Why should people do business with you, anyway? (what’s in in for them?)
- What needs do your customers have that you’re not meeting?
- What are your most profitable lines?
- Which are least profitable?
- What is your business known for?
- Is your pricing the best it could be?
- Who could you partner with on business projects?
- Are your guarantees competitive?
- Do you know what your market share is?
- What trends are happening which might affect your business?
- How well are your online and offline marketing integrated with each other?
- What’s your marketing budget? (As little as possible is NOT a valid answer.)
I could go on and on. There are endless questions and the answers to many are likely to be open-ended.
But get started. The great thing about doing a marketing questionnaire like this in your small business is that it will kick start a brainstorming process.
Before you know it, you’ll be excited about the possibilities you see.
Let me know what questions you’re asking and how the answers are affecting how you grow your business.