3 Ways Online Surveys Can Help Your Small Business


Given the well-known fact that 80 percent of small businesses won’t survive past the first three years, it is understandable why prudent entrepreneurs see the necessity for market research and excellent customer service. Competitive marketplaces demand that successful business executives fully understand shifts in the marketplace and what customers want. Online surveys provide a much-needed business tool for taking the pulse of the market. According to Inside Research, the online survey industry grew 4 percent from 2010 to 2011. As of 2011, the industry reached $2.4 billion.

Designing a survey to obtain market information may sound straight forward, but there are some necessary tips to keep in mind for best results. There are different types of questions geared to gather different types of answers. Questions should be precise and absolutely clear to ensure accurate answers.

Lengthy questions run the risk of boring the reader and creating bias. Open-ended questions are perfect for eliciting subjective answers, while multiple choice questions get specific answers that are easy to quantify. The goal of the survey best determines which question works best. No survey should take more than ten minutes. A longer survey risks the chance of having people rush through it, answering with any quick answer just to finish.

Surveys to Conduct Market Research

One of the main uses for a business survey is to gather market research. It is a big mistake for any business to lose touch with their target market. Online surveys offer an excellent and affordable tool for finding out what customers deem as important. Experts are available to create a survey for entrepreneurs interested in delegating the task.

With some basic instruction, many management teams find it relatively easy to design surveys to gain the insights they need. Where there is a demand, there is always a company to fill that need. For this reason it is no surprise that there are several survey companies more than happy to help companies with online surveys. Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo, PollDaddy, and KISSinsights are several excellent options available for setting up and conducting business surveys.

Surveys for Customer Follow-up

Nothing is more important for a small business than finding out how your customers feel about your company after a sale. Surveys are an excellent way to get feedback from new customers. Unlike on-the-spot feedback that many companies seek at the time of the sale, online surveys allow new customers to give valid feedback in a nonthreatening environment where they are more likely to be honest about any problems experienced.

Crowd Sourcing

As companies consider a new logo, or any other important business decision like marketing a new product, getting customers’ opinions can be invaluable. Many entrepreneurs are using surveys before making big decisions. As a quick and affordable way to connect with the marketplace for feedback, crowd sourcing allows business decisions to be made based customer votes.


Online surveys offer business management the insights they need to make prudent decisions. For a fraction of the cost of making a big business mistake, online surveys offer entrepreneurs a way to get feedback from customers before investing a lot of time and money on bad ideas. Technology fuels a fast paced market that shifts quickly. The pace of business and a competitive marketplace demands a quick response from business leaders. Online surveys offer a tool for astute business professionals who understand the importance of embracing the changing landscape of the marketplace.

About the author: Jeff Parker is a marketing manager and guest author at Top Business Degrees. He recently contributed to the guide to the Highest Paying Jobs for Business Majors.