A couple posts ago, I wrote about advice I had given to a wantrepreneur when she asked how to start a business after incepting the idea. My answer was simple: “Do your customer discovery. Consider doing a survey.” However, she didn’t know how to start.
The word “survey” is generic and broad. Every time you ask someone a question, you’re performing a mini-survey. In a true customer discovery survey, you use a structured approach and many respondents.
A few simple survey tools at your disposal (my favorites):
  • Verbal/ Manual. Not always the most appreciated or scalable, but soliciting feedback verbally is a form of direct survey. That is, going door-to-door (figuratively or literally) can be an effective way of getting in front of your prospects.
  • Simple survey apps. Lots of tools here including popular SurveyMonkey, Qualitrics, and, my favorite, Google Docs (Apps). A Google Form can easily be used as a survey with multiple choice, true/ false, free text, etc. It integrates with Google Sheets for analysis, or exported for more. If you have a Google account, it can be free, too.
  • Survey tools on steroids… That is, there are tools that help you distribute surveys to grander audiences and near real-time like 1Q– a direct-response advertising and market research startup in ATL. These services have member pools already where you can choose demographic, geographic, etc. options and send questions with near immediate feedback. Of course, this can be costly – price of a powerful real-time solution.
  • (Note: there are many more beyond these.)

There are a ton of survey tools available, but the tools above have been especially useful for me and what I recommend to others. But the goal is the same: to validate if your idea can be a viable business and get traction at the start.
What tools and methods do you use for customer discovery surveys? How would you perform customer discovery aside from surveys?