Could a simple online survey be the secret to your success?

Not knowing what keeps your customers up at night could be holding your business back. That’s what my entrepreneur friend – I’ll call her Leslie – discovered last year. After having her first child, she launched a copywriting business so she could stay home with her newborn. She quickly got to work marketing her business on various social sites, created a newsletter and slowly grew subscribers along the way.

Unfortunately the one thing Leslie didn’t grow in those early months was her customer base. She wasn’t able to even land one. That put a strain on the family finances and her husband thought Leslie should go back to her day job.

Through some brainstorming with a peer, Leslie realized that until she knew exactly what kept her newsletter subscribers up at night, she’d continue to have trouble turning any of them into paying clients.

Leslie decided to ask her 112 subscribers to fill out a short survey, which she created with an online cloud-based service. A major discovery for Leslie was that all the people who responded – 16 in total – were very concerned about promoting their business.

That was just the insight she needed. Within a day Leslie had reworked her service offerings to emphasize her PR copywriting services and less than a week later, she wrote a press release for her first client Now almost a year later, business is booming and Leslie is earning the same as when she worked full time – while getting to stay home with her little one.

What Leslie learned can help us all. Knowing what your customers’ biggest challenges are will help you tailor your marketing and services so you look the superhero they’ve been waiting for.

Like Leslie, you may be surprised by what you discover from your prospects through a survey, something so big it could change the course of your business for the better.

Now one thing you may be thinking is “could I lose subscribers by asking them to complete a survey”? The answer is yes, but it’s nothing to worry about because the insight you’ll gain from those who take the time will be more valuable than those few subscribers you lost who wouldn’t have purchased from you anyway.

To create a survey, you can choose from several websites out there including , and . I’ve personally used SurveyMonkey and have been happy with them. Here are some things to note about the service:

–       It’s free for up to 10 questions and a max of 100 responses per survey, with monthly paid packages for needs beyond that.

–       The results are in real-time, so you could potentially start seeing results within minutes of sending off your first survey.

–       SurveyMonkey is web-based, so all your data will be stored online in the cloud for easy referencing.

–       All accounts, even free ones, come with 24/7 email support.

Action Tip: Brainstorm 1 great question you could ask your potential customers and share it with your peers in the comments below. That way you’ll have a great bank of questions to draw on when you’re ready to run your first survey.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.

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