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If anyone knows about B&B, Karen does. Hopton House - a converted granary with three bedrooms - has a five-star grading (putting it in the top seven per cent of rated properties in the country) and a gold award (given by Visit Britain for added excellence)

The Guardian, January 2009

 

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How To Do Your Research - Part 2 - How To Use a Survey

The very first thing any prospective business owner should do is research their market. Is your business viable? Will it make any money? Is there a gap in the market locally? Are there specific markets that you can tap into?

Do some research, then do some more! The more research you do, the more chance you have of creating a successful B&B business that gives you a good income.

Start by sending out a survey. It's a great way to test your ideas out before actually committing to anything.

1. Who Will You Send It To?

Identify a list of friends, family and colleagues who would do your survey for you. The more the better and make sure you choose a wide range of people. You'll want a wide age range, people with lots of different interests, those with family, those without.

2. What Medium Can You Use?

If you're techy enough you could probably set up your own survey online. If not, then there are companies out there who will set up surveys for you and collate the results. For a cheaper option you can put together a WORD form with drop down boxes and send this out by email. This will take more of your own time, putting the results into a sensible format for you to use, but it is a good choice if your funds are limited.

3. How Will You Persuade People To Respond?

If you are sending your survey out to friends and family, many people will respond just to help you out. But, if you are sending the survey to people you don't know so well, then it is a good idea to offer a prize or some other incentive. Maybe you could offer a bottle of champagne or a night away in the B&B when it is open.

4. What Should You Include In Your Survey?

This is where you get to test all of the great ideas you have for setting up a B&B. You may well be surprised by the results. Many B&B owners set up their business based on what they would like from a B&B rather than what their market would actually like. For example, you may love showers and never take a bath, so you are planning just to have shower rooms. But your survey tells you that 80% of your respondents like to have a bath when they're away.

5. How To Analyse Your Results?

You need to analyse your results carefully. Those bath lovers may all be married couples in their 70s. Whilst your target market is actually businesspeople, staying with you whilst they're away from home, who demand a shower in the morning., So understanding your target market will help you know whose results to pay particular attention to. On the other hand your results may make you change your mind about the market you are targetting!