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For The Asking

How can you increase profits? Just ask your customers.

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This story appears in the September 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

While planning for the next few decades is critically importantto a company's success, small businesses can also increaseprofits by finding out what perceptions exist today. Two ways toaccomplish this market research are through surveys and focusgroups. And luckily, you don't need a Ph.D. in marketing totake advantage of either one.

Surveys don't have to be expensive, formal ortime-consuming to be of value to your business. Even a simplystructured survey enables you to get feedback from your customers.Most survey methods used by small firms rely on one or more of thefollowing methods:

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