Most business owners assume their new product or service will meet the needs of their potential customers. However, unfortunately, this might not always be the case. To better help prospective business owners meet the needs of their customers, focus groups have been developed and implemented with growing popularity.
A focus group allows a business owner to discuss their business ideas with a group of potential customers or industry participants. In the focus groups, the business owner presents their new product or idea and asked for feedback from the group participants. From this, business owners may better align their thoughts and ideas for new products and services to potentially meet the needs of their future customers.
As with most activities, proper preparation is needed to enjoy the benefits of a well-run focus group. Borosky Business Consulting has conducted numerous focus groups. Here are our some of our tips and tricks for preparing and executing a functional focus group. If you find that you are in need of professional assistance with running your focus group, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Borosky Consulting and Focus Groups
Borosky Business Consulting specializes in preparing, conducting, and analyzing focus groups. Our services include:
- Helping small business owners identify the purpose of the focus group and create objectives to obtain this purpose.
- Leading the focus group.
- Analyzing the data of the focus group's finding and preparing a written document discussing the focus group objectives and purpose.
For more information on how Borosky Business Consulting may help your business execute a focus group, please contact us now!
To start, your focus group needs a purpose. The purpose may be to receive feedback on a particular thought or an idea that your business may introduce to the market. The purpose may also be to improve operations of an existing business. Regardless of the reasoning for the focus group, the purpose of the group must be central to your planning.
Objectives of the focus group
The objectives of a focus group. With your purpose of the focus group identified, a well-run focus group will list for 4 to 6 explicit objectives or "takeaways" for the focus group. To illustrate, my last focus group, we set five objectives. One of the objectives was to have a better understanding of where food truck owners prepare their products for sale. Below are some thoughts and ideas as to what may be helpful in your objectives.
- Collecting opinions, thoughts, and problems about your current company.
- Introducing new thoughts and ideas to potential customers.
- Learn more about an industry problem.
- Collect and identify different "Problems" in a particular industry.
Materials needed for a focus group:
Identifying and gathering materials needed for a successful focus group may seem as a common sense action that needs no discussion. However, there is nothing more embarrassing than starting a focus group session with plenty of food for potential customers to consume, yet there are no beverages to be found. This, and many more, issues can be avoided by making a list of materials needed for a focus group. Possible materials may be:
- Questionnaires for potential customers to fill out.
- Chairs, tables, and writing implements for potential customers.
- Refreshments for your participants.
- Computers or tablets to access the Internet if needed.
- Camera or video recorder to help gather data on your potential customers.
Phases of a successful focus group:
The success of a focus group lies with proper planning and execution of the focus group. All too often, I have seen focus groups conducted with no planning or adherence to some type of structure. This usually results in the business owner not obtaining the sole purpose of organizing the focus group.
- From my experience, there should be three phases of the focus group. The first phase is the planning phase. In this phase, the purposes identified, objectives to obtain this purpose are created, questionnaires and other material for the attainment of the objectives is collected, and focus group participants are identified and contacted.
- In this phase, the objective is to lay the groundwork of a focus group activities that will use identified objectives to attain the purpose of the focus group, while collecting data from the disciplines.
- The second phase is the actual meeting. In this phase, the leader of the focus group, which must not be the business owner do to potential bias, should execute the predetermined agenda for the meeting. Too often, the leader of the focus group fails to adhere to the predetermined agenda. This results in critical data not being collected and the sole purpose of the meeting is not obtained.
- The final phase of the focus group is the post focus group. In this phase, the organizers should focus on two actions. First, the organizers should reflect on the first two phases of the focus group. Discuss the positive and the negative of the first two phases of the focus group. This will allow the organizers to learn from their mistakes and duplicate their successes in future focus groups. The second action in this phase is to analyze the data gathered from the focus group and construct some type of a written document focused on discussing the purpose and objectives of the focus group.
The outcome of a well-executed focus group is for the owner to have a better understanding of their initial dilemma or new product.
Author: Paul Borosky, MBA. ABD.
Owner of Tutor4finance.com, TutorWithPaul.com, and QualityBusinessPlan.com
Call or Text Paul Now