Creating an Effective Survey: SurveyStud

Creating online surveys is as much an art as it is a science. It involves attention to detail in the design and flow of your survey. Creating an effective survey that yields actionable insights can be difficult.

Here are 4 tips for creating an effective survey.

1. Keep It Simple

Do you remember taking the SAT or ACT? It’s a long and boring process. Your average survey respondent can start to feel that way about 15 minutes into a survey. Fifteen minutes is a strong upper-limit for most surveys.

When a survey is too long, two bad things can happen:

— Respondents mentality drop out

— Clients get frustrated

2. Use Scales Whenever Possible

Scales are more than a little important.
Rather than asking respondents a basic yes or no question, use scales that measure both the direction and the intensity of opinions.

Scales extend the power of analysis from basic percentages to high-level analyses based on means and variance estimates

3. Keep Coded Values Consistent

Every survey response, option, question, or answer is coded as a numeric value that is reported as a percent of responses or as a mean, median, range, etc.

These values are the basis for analysis.

  — Mean: Often referred to as an average, it is the sum of all the values divided by the number of values.

  — Median: The middle point in a data set. To determine the median, lay out a distribution from lowest to highest and select the middle value.

  — Range: The highest and lowest data points in a distribution form the range. VARIANCE: A dispersion measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out.

For simplicity, keep your scale direction consistent throughout your survey. This makes it easier for respondents to answer and for you as a researcher to conduct your analysis.

The simplest solution is just to keep all scales consistent throughout every survey.

4. Explain Why

Respondents are more likely to help you if they see something of positive value for them. Value offerings can range from a very general altruistic appeal for their help to a very specific offer of an economic incentive. For instance, with a customer feedback survey, you can explain that feedback will help improve customer service.

Here are some quick examples:

Make it specific to them: With employee evaluations, you can explain that feedback will be used to determine awards, promotions, and pay raises and will help management make organizational decisions that will affect them.

Explain unexpected questions: For instance, if it’s important for you to ask toy store customers their preferred color of jeans, you might want to explain why that is relevant.

The plug:  If this made sense to you try our smartphone (survey) app… SurveyStud https://appsto.re/us/Ddj18.i

StartUp Market Research

Research, as a general concept, is the process of gathering information to learn about something that is not fully known. Nearly everyone engages in some form of research. From the highly trained geologist investigating newly discovered earthquake faults, to the author of best selling spy novels gaining insight into new surveillance techniques, to the model train hobbyist spending hours hunting down the manufacturer of an old electric engine, each is driven by the quest for information.

For Startups, research is not only used for the purpose of learning, it is also a critical component needed to make good decisions. Market research does this by giving Startups a picture of what is occurring (or likely to occur) and, when done well, offers alternative choices that can be made. For instance, good research may suggest multiple options for introducing new products or entering new markets. In most cases marketing decisions prove less risky (though they are never risk free) when the StartUp can select from more than one option.

Using an analogy of a house foundation, marketing research can be viewed as the foundation of marketing. Just as a well-built house requires a strong foundation to remain sturdy, StartUp decisions need the support of research in order to be viewed favorably by customers and to stand up to competition and other external pressures. Consequently, all areas of the StartUp and all marketing decisions should be supported with some level of research.

While research is key to StartUp decision making, it does not always need to be elaborate to be effective. Sometimes small efforts, such as doing a quick search on the Internet, will provide the needed information. However, for most StartUps there are times when more elaborate research work is needed and understanding the right way to conduct research, whether performing the work themselves such as using apps like “SurveyStud,” to get a pulse within a specific social-ecospace, or hiring someone else to handle it, can increase the effectiveness of these projects.

Gender vs Survey 

The purpose of this article is to examine the correlation between online (i.e… smartphone via Twitter, Facebook etc.) survey non-response and various demographic factors, including gender.

Studies have shown that trends exist with regard to who responds to surveys, at least with regard to traditional modes of survey administration. Reports suggest that many demographic and other correlates with non-response to online surveys may indeed mirror those of more traditional modes of survey administration. However, the influence of such a basic demographic factor as gender on online survey response behavior is unclear.

In this study, a record-linking technique was employed to compare the gender of online survey respondents directly to available demographic data of all members of a sampling frame, thus allowing comparison of demographic information of both respondents and non-respondents.

The sampling frame, which consisted entirely of university faculty members of a large research university in the southeastern United States with a full-time faculty of approximately 1000, was specifically chosen to minimize the effect of other potential correlates to non-response behavior, such as education level, Smartphone access, geographic location, occupation, and income. Pearson’s chi square analysis showed a significant relationship between gender and survey response rates: female faculty members contributed disproportionately to the respondent data set.

One possible explanations for the observations is that the observed differences in female and male faculty response rates is a product of differences in female and male values operating in a gendered online environment.

Results of this study suggest that researchers should not assume that response behavior toward online surveys, and therefore data gathered from online surveys, is free of gender bias. 

Hence highlights the value of smartphone survey apps such as SurveyStud: https://appsto.re/us/Ddj18.i

President Donald Trump: A Must Read

Donald  Trump represents a throwback to the 1950s — a time when the Midwest was a beacon of affluence for many working class whites with high-paying factory jobs.

What you saw [Tuesday] is the revenge of the angry white working class voter, but I think this really will be the last gasp of the angry white male. 

For months Donald Trump has dismissed polls and experts and proclaimed that he was at the head of a movement of disaffected voters that would upend conventional political wisdom and kick out the Washington establishment. 

The New York businessman was proved right on Tuesday as he rode a wave of anger with economic change, dogwhistle racial politics and pledges to crack down on immigration and rip up trade agreements to a stunning upset win. 

More so one demographic above all took him there: the once solidly Democratic blue-collar white voters that may now be known as Trump Democrats. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” the tycoon declared in his victory speech.

According to exit polls, across the US Mr Trump carried the white voters who made up 70 per cent of the electorate by a 58:37 margin over Hillary Clinton.

Among white voters without a university degree that margin grew to 67:28. But even among white voters with a degree, exit polls showed him carrying the day 49:45, despite surveys that for months had predicted they would be part of a demographic firewall benefiting Mrs Clinton. 

Some have said this was a whitelash. This was a whitelash against a changing country;  others believed It was a whitelash against a black president, in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes.

Tuesday’s scream of the angry white voter was heard loudest in rust belt states such as Ohio and Indiana and threw into play previous Democratic strongholds such as Michigan and Pennsylvania — neither of which had voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1988.

Overall Mr Trump’s campaign and his appeal to white voters had an ugly side, unleashing a previously unseen level of vitriol in American politics  He was criticised widely for courting the vote of white nationalists and the “alt-right” movement that has taken anti-semitic and racial bullying to new levels on social media.

Yet at the end of the day… regardless of how some feel he [Donald Julious Trump] is the next President of “These” United States of America.

Ok as usual if you feel any of this was plagiarized that’s because it probably was.  If you see something that may be yours let me know and I will remove it.  Cool Beans…. 

New Business

This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you don’t know who your target customer is, you’ll have a tough time retaining loyal consumers. I don’t mean just knowing who your customer is, but really being attuned to everything he or she does, wants and thinks. How old are they? Where do they live? How much money do they make? What colors do they prefer? Where do they buy their clothes? A middle-aged housewife with a disposable income may not be looking to buy a sequin G-string with matching garter, and failing to tailor your product to her needs can quickly result in loads of missed opportunities.

Surveys (using SurveyStud), focus groups and research can be a great way to learn about your customer’s preferences and buying habits. Another helpful tool that worked for me was to identify an actual person (celebrity, athlete, musician) as my target customer. I got to know everything about that person, and was soon able to pick up on little cues and details of what they wore and where they shopped. Now, whenever I’m unsure if a certain style will resonate with my customers, I always refer back to that person and ask myself, “would they wear this or not?” to help me decide. Having a consistent vision across the board, from your product to your marketing, is invaluable these days and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

New Business Part 1

You know those beautiful designer lingerie sets that are so expensive you’d have to take a loan out just to afford one? There’s a reason they cost so much, and it’s not just about the fine quality and craftsmanship. Often times you are paying for the brand itself and the experience that comes with it.

When doing my initial planning, I first aimed for a pricing structure that would place me lower than my competitors with comparable product. I thought that would be a great way to attract customers, and I couldn’t understand why a bra would need to be marked up so high. But after months of number crunching and financial management courses I found that those products were marked up not just to make a profit, but to keep the business up and running on a daily basis. If I had dropped my prices as I had originally intended to do, I’d surely be out of business within a year.

It is important to set each price for adequate accommodation of your business’s overhead budget, taking into account employee salaries and the cost of goods, supplies, legal fees, advertising, etc. I learned that a smart pricing structure is directly related to the cost of doing business. If you price your goods accordingly, your customers are sure to understand and learn to view you as a respectable entity.

New Business Part 2

One of the most surprising things I realized in my early months is that not many people were/are interested in selling their product Indie Startups. 

I thought as a small independent business, I’d be respected and supported by the brands I wanted to do business with, but that seemed to only be the case with a select few. After numerous unanswered emails and rejections, one sympathetic vendor finally told me that many brands only want to work with larger, established companies. These brands often hire agents to manage their sales and are very strict about how much money they bring in. Big retailers pay big bucks and buy big quantities, leaving us little guys to struggle with more limited options.

It was a disappointing fact to learn, but thankfully, most of the labels that will work with startups (many of them indie brands themselves) know the value of partnership and have been supportive from the get go. 

These are the brands I look forward to forming lasting relationships with, and remind me why I continue to love this industry so much.

Question is… if you are an Indie StartUp are you reaching out to other Indie Startups?

Bro, I Cryed For My Startup 

…When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit.

I was first hit by the failure bus a few years back–thus I made the decision to close the doors on my first big entrepreneurial venture: Ragtube.com, an Indie music video site I created at my kitchen table.

In the end, the decision to cut my losses and close shop was made in a heartbeat. The light bulb finally went off in my head: It had to be done. Although the final decision to pull the plug came quickly, it was precipitated by months of struggling, massive server interruption, and analyzing the many factors that were just plain out of my control.

When the light bulb finally triggered, I cryed. I made up this huge lie, which I told to anyone that would ask about Ragtube, but in the end, I did not have the capital, nor technical chops to keep her running. I shut my computer, turned off the lamp, and freakin cried.

While there are many factors that contributed to Ragtube’s ultimate demise, I want to focus on the factors that truly helped me understand that it was time to walk away.

Missing the mark on volume projections. After almost 3 years in business, I wasn’t close to hitting my initial projections for daily traffic. It was easy at the beginning to blame the miscalculations on the lack of awareness on the net. I believed that even if my marketing was off, if I just adjusted my variable costs to match, I could get the exposure and be a household name. 

Then finally, it was time to admit my business model/plan/ideal were so far off, it was nearly impossible to over look them anymore. I really don’t want to get into everything that went wrong because that’s not why I wrote this.  I wrote this as a friend… a distant friend that wants to be honest with you.

When your expenses begin to exceed revenue,  [While its normal for a newly launched business to have expenses outpace sales, a business can’t surive forever if there is no profit.] you must be honest with yourself, and ask the question: Am I throwing money away? 

Another reality I discovered was after months and months of cutting costs and brainstorming marketing ideas to bring in more traffic, it was hard to feel motivated. Walking into work knowing the money is almost gone became painful–like I was starting to realize soon and very soon I may not have a place of employment. Partner meetings became stressful, as I racked my brains for ideas that might save a business I had grown to love so much. Hope was a wave we could ride only for so long.

That said, saying goodbye to the business, the people and physical location was very difficult. But like the sting that remains after a messy breakup, eventually the pain dissipates. Each time you tell the story, share what you’ve done and discover and rediscover how much you’ve learned, it becomes more clear that failure really isn’t the right word at all. Closure, maybe.

The doors are closed, but the lessons learned and experiences gained are forever ingrained. That is entrepreneurship and that can never be seen as failure.

Ok like I always write… hope you enjoyed the read, and if you feel I plagiarized some of the material, I probably did.

So tell someone about my blog and download my latest app: SurveyStud… in the App Store.

Eyes of a Venture Capitalists 

…what a Venture Capitalist wants to see in a pitch deck.

You only get 30 to 60 minutes in front of a Venture Capitalists (VC), so it’s critical the deck has structure–VC Structure.

It’s fair to say I’ve seen many pitches, and I can specifically recall sitting in a pitch thinking, why don’t this guy get to the bottom line. I get tired of seeing thesame miscalculated  presentation week after week–sorry just being honest.

Anyway lets get to the point. I put together what “I feel are critical points during a pitch.”

So the below 6 Slides are critical in a pitch:

          – SLIDE 1: Founders

          – SLIDE 2: Problem / Solution

          – SLIDE 3: Demo

          – SLIDE 4: Scalability / Defensibility

          – SLIDE 5: Distribution

          – SLIDE 6: Projections

Pitch Deck Slide #1 – Founders:  An inviting picture/image, the name of the company, and Management Team up front if you don’t know the investors ahead of time.

Pitch Deck Slide #2 – The Problem and Solution: 

– Problem: You want to move into the problem you are solving, pretty quickly. Skip the backstory, and get to the point – “The problem is X.” If there are multiple problems, focus on the largest and most immediate to start. Avoid jargon and acronyms…keep it straightforward and simple.

– Solution: Within the first couple of minutes, you should be through the introduction, and stated your problem. From there, you should be ready to show the solution, either live (mobile app), or in graphical format on your slide. Speak clearly and confidently.

Pitch Deck Slide #3 – Demo: We are now in the Information Age.  You should not pitch a product… specifically an app, without a demo.

Pitch Deck Slide #4 – Scalability and Defensibility:  At this point, the VC is thinking, “I’m interested in this, or not.” This is another side that should be high-level, without getting too deep into details. Prove two things: show that your product is scalable, and show that it is defensible (can’t be easily copied). Nothing impresses VCs more than founders who show that they are really smart, and are on to something that not many people know about yet.

Pitch Deck Slide #5 – Distribution:  It’s really about communicating how you’re getting to market; this slide shows you have taken the time to research what the best method(s) will be for getting your offering out into the world. A lot of incubators and accelerators today will spend time with their member companies to assemble a proper distribution strategy.

Pitch Deck Slide #6 – Projections: Keep it to one slide, with 2-3 years of revenue projections. Top line operating expenses. Most importantly, what does the cash burn look like, and what’s the head count? Avoid going into a five year model at the early stages. Keep it simple…VCs are only going to remember a few key numbers.

Unfortunately, as a reminder there is no such thing as a “perfect” pitch deck because pitch decks are always being refined and tweaked to optimize for the immediate audience to whom the deck is being presented. In other words, one size does not fit all when it comes to a pitch deck.  BUT one thing I do believe, if you have a demo of your product/app… that means more than any slides you could ever put together. Something to think about…

As always if it seems I may have plagiarized, heck I probably did… BUT I ask that you forgive me, leave a comment, and have a nice day.

NDA… Can Be BullSh*t 👀 

…In early stages of a discussion asking for an NDA (non-disclosure agreements) often signals you’re a rookie, and or new to the game

So let’s explore the mechanics of the NDA, or the rationale for trying to get people to sign.

A lot of entrepreneurs for some reason think “if I get them to sign the NDA, then I can reveal some of my secrets because the NDA will protect me.”–Bro this is so far from the truth.  Its just so fuck’n wrong.  If you are a normal startup then cash is an issue.  So if cash is an issue how are you going to fight this in court?

You have to take them to court, and spend a absorbent amount of cheddar defending, and proving a lot of details which you may or may not have… at the end of the day, the one question I have, can you sustain the onslaught of legal fees?

BUT lets say we divide the type of information you might conceivably disclose to an outside party into two categories:

          – Cat 1:  Trying To Do

          – Cat 2:  Going To Do

So let’s look at Cat 1: Trying To Do. This information should not be kept secret. You have more to gain by disclosing information than trying to protect it (in most cases). One of the biggest problems startups face is that they invest time/energy/money into an idea under the false premise that they will be the first/only company in that market within a given window of time. In most cases, this is simply not true. By talking to people (that you trust), and discussing your idea, you’ll get a better sense of who is out there doing likert things. Some of these could be competitors – but some could also be partners, customers, acquirers, etc. 

Also if you have a fear – that revealing the idea will cause a bunch of people to hear about it, recognize its brilliance and then pursue the idea themselves shake that shit loose. It will halt you from exploring all options.

Now let’s look at Cat 2: Going To Do. Truth is with or without an NDA in place, you are not going to share everything about your idea–I have talked to a gang of entrepreneurs, and key deliverables are/is always missing; sad thing about it, I’m the guy with the check book, and they always seem to forget the “secret sauce.” They are so worried that people like me will steal the ideal–they often talk themselves out of a deal.  WTF!

I believe between the two categories Cat 2: Going To Do requires an NDA. BUT it’s only valuable if you are willing to actually share the “secret sauce.”

So what am I saying:

     – “SHARE” Cat 1: Trying To Do, as early in the process as possible… No NDA is required.

    – “DO NOT SHARE” Cat 2: Going To Do, unless you are willing to be 100% honest, and need help from the person you are speaking with… NDA is required.