How can questions help small businesses?

If you start thinking in questions, it will benefit you to:

• focus your mind on what your customers really want or need
• ask your customers what they are asking for
• work out what your own business should be asking for
• then aim to provide what your customers are searching for

This sounds deep, but it isn’t really. It’s not worth providing something nobody really wants.

Years ago I designed wedding stationery which many people told me was beautiful. But it wasn’t what brides wanted. It’s no good designing beautiful stationery that 99.9% of brides don’t want. I spent 2 years of my business life churning out stuff nobody wanted because I didn’t ask. The trouble was, when I eventually found out what brides wanted, I didn’t want to produce it because to me it seemed so tacky. If only I’d known, I wouldn’t have wasted all that time and effort for so little return.

Do you really know what your customers want? Do you think it would be a good idea to ask questions to find this out? Are you willing to adapt or change it if necessary? It might make all the difference to your profit margins…

Think of five questions that would provide you with all the information you require. They should be designed for you to find out whether you are giving your customers exactly what they want. Make sure the questions are open ended so they aren’t replied to with a single word, and are carefully structured so the answers don’t go off on a tangent.

Go to a questionnaire source like to compile your questionnaire and send it to all your contacts. If the questions require a full answer, put them onto separate pages: it will facilitate a better response. Include an explanation as to why you are asking these questions, and provide some sort of incentive to get a reply, like a free gift or prize. And once they’ve been completed, don’t forget to take heed of the answers and undertake some sort of process in analysing them.

More information = better informed = higher value = greater success


2 thoughts on “How can questions help small businesses?

  1. Excellent advice, and I loved the personal story. I can’t imagine doing something you love for 2 years and then finding that you needed to make something you hated to actually be profitable.
    Wanted to also point you at SurveyGizmo as another survey tool to check out. In full disclosure, I am employed with them. None-the-less, getting feedback is vital, thanks for posting!


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