has anyone any experience with this?
DH is expanding his business but we have a few ideas that we need to run past people that aren't our family or friends, just to get some feedback on whether he should proceed
i know you see them on the Apprentice but how does he himself actually go about setting up a group of people that would be willing to sit and listen to him and will he have to pay etc? does anyone know how it's done?
Why not ask some wollies to do it??
I think when they're done professionally the participants do get paid a nominal amount. And the people you would need would depend on the target audience of the business i guess - though if wollies would fit that - I'd start there.
Otherwise go and ask somewhere that does have a lot of those people about - might be a mums & kids group, might be a football team, a sports club or maybe a professional association or something. I would try asking these people - you never know until you ask.
To do it properly, a third party should recruit the group of people and also conduct the group discussion. The group recruited should be a cross-section of the population or at least be a good representation of target consumer group in terms of demographics (age, gender, income, level of education, etc.) and also psychographics (values, attitudes, interests or lifestyles).
Generally, focus groups are recruited on a random basis and not told the name of the product or company for which the research is being conducted. They are usually given a token amount of money if they agree to participate and sign a confidentiality agreement that asks them to agree not to discuss or disclose any information that is given to them as a result of their focus group participation.
A focus group session is usually held in a neutral location (office, conference room, community centre, etc) or a facility designed specifically for focus group research that includes one-way mirrors so the clients/researchers can observe the proceedings.
The session usually consists of a moderator who hosts the session and leads the discussion (aka asks questions to elicit opinions and feedback). Moderators are usually specially trained in conducting focus groups so that they can ask the right kind of questions and followup to capture additional important ideas as they evolve during the conversation.
Usually the sessions are taped (either audio only or video) so that comments can be evaluated in the proper context after the fact though sometimes someone is used as a "recorder" who takes notes, though that is generally less effective as important feedback can be missed or misinterpreted. Focus group sessions usually run an hour to two hours in length and sometimes participants or a sub-set of the group is brought back at a later time to follow-up on a particular subject or idea.
All of the above may sound excessive but the goal is to get unbiased, raw data to help guide the development of a product, service, concept or idea and all of the above helps ensure that.
I don't know what the business is that your husband is thinking of expanding and I fully recognize it may not be possible/feasible for you/him to conduct focus group research to the standard as I've outlined above and/or hire a marketing research company to do it for you. It is, however, important as you noted that he just doesn't ask your friends/relatives/co-workers what they think as they are likely to give you biased feedback.
Depending on what the product/service is and the target audience, as another Wollie suggested, you could possible conduct a casual focus group to get some objective feedback via the forum here -- not necessarily by asking people to react to his business idea per se, but perhaps posting a link to a survey you create online (like via SurveyMonkey which is a free service) to ask for people's opinions.
If you want to go the latter route, let me know and I may be able to help you. To put together the survey I'd need to understand a bit more about your husband's business idea, but that could be done "offline" via PM, email or Skype if you wish.
BTW, what you see on Apprentice *is not* a focus group. Though the panel usually does give its opinions about a presenter's product/service/idea as part of their evaluation of its feasibility as a viable business investment, what's really going on is nothing more than a presenter "pitching" their business idea in front of a group of possible investors.
Making a pitch to a group of venture capitalists is an entirely different kettle of fish than organizing a focus group. If what your husband really wants is assistance in arranging an audience in front of some possible investors, disregard the above -- though to make an effective pitch having done your homework in terms of having conducted focus group research and used it to guide the development of a product/service/concept/idea is usually looked upon as a plus by potential investors.
Anyway, sorry about the length of this post. Hope the info is helpful, and Good Luck!
Thanks Lavidia, I've created a survey already so I'll send it on to have a look.
thanks for the help