As a company with a startup mentality (a significant portion of our senior management team founded a company or was part of a founding team), SurveyMonkey values the entrepreneurial spirit that continues to drive change in society and the business world. Our recent partnership with startup incubator Wicked Start, an online platform that provides step-by-step guidance to help aspiring entrepreneurs plan, structure, and fund a new business, demonstrates this point. With Wicked Start’s guidance, startup founders use SurveyMonkey surveys to collect data in several key steps and use their future customers’ opinions to inform critical decisions in the early stages of a new entrepreneurial venture. This combination of startup expertise and SurveyMonkey’s survey technology provides vital access to market opinion at critical start-up stages—and the know-how to use the survey results to their greatest advantage.
Entrepreneur magazine said, “If you’re overwhelmed by the multitude of tasks associated with starting a business, Wicked Start may be just the tool for you.” Wicked Start gives digestible, actionable steps to follow—from a directory search of lawyers and CPAs needed for company formation to a tutorial on how to create an investor pitch.
One particular startup that is seeing the benefits of Wicked Start’s 10-step guide combined with SurveyMonkey surveys is Out & Active. The company was founded in 2010 by two former strategy consultants, Andrew Fried and Elissa Liu, who were looking to pursue their entrepreneurial interests while satisfying their passion for the outdoors. The company provides unique group trips that combine outdoor activities, relaxing indulgences, and social activities for the LGBT community and allies, with the aim to rescue fellow cubicle-dwellers who want to enjoy life outdoors. The company is currently focused in New York City, but plans to expand to other cities in the US and Canada in the coming months.
Here, we’ve outlined how Out & Active has incorporated or intends to incorporate SurveyMonkey surveys into 3 specific steps of Wicked Start’s program.
How to get initial feedback on the idea to assess market need.
As part of the decision to launch, Out & Active relied on data gathered from a SurveyMonkey survey.
According to Out & Active, “The data gathered using SurveyMonkey was pivotal to creating our vision and identifying the right mix of activities that people wanted to do. We gathered data about the best trips to offer and about the people to whom these trips would appeal to most.”
How to create a sample of the product or service.
While Out & Active has already begun to offer great trips and activities for the LGBT community using a custom-developed registration process, it is currently prototyping new services and will use Wufoo forms (recently acquired by SurveyMonkey) for a simple and easy-to-implement registration flow. With an embedded registration form that is fully customizable, users can enter registration details and payment information directly through Out & Active’s website. Using Wufoo registration for some of its new services, they won’t have to do additional custom back-end website development, which can be both costly and time-consuming.
In addition to offering a great user experience, Out & Active hopes to simplify the payment process for some of its new offerings. Wufoo will allow the company to seamlessly accept payment through secure transmission for a minimal fee and accepts payments through PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, USA ePay, Chargify and Freshbooks—a wider variety of options than Out & Active currently offers.
How to set up customer service as a key marketing asset.
Wicked Start encourages entrepreneurs to treat customer service as a key element of their business and advises, “On your website, provide a contact email for customers, with an automated response set up to let them know their message has been received and will be addressed within 24 hours or the next business day.” If potential customer feedback is important during initial planning, it’s nothing less than crucial in the early stages of actually doing business. In Out & Active’s business, the customer experience on trips is mission-critical information, and with SurveyMonkey, Out & Active can add an automatic feedback loop by simply including a survey URL into post-trip thank you emails to customers.
Out & Active anticipates having an even better gauge of its customer base so it can continue to improve the experiences it provides customers, which in turn improves the company’s outlook.
Now that we’ve shared a bit about how Out & Active has used and plans to use Wicked Start and SurveyMonkey to drive its business, we encourage you to visit both companies’ websites to learn more. We look forward to monitoring the success of Out & Active and, we hope, to continue serving their survey needs as they grow.
How are you using surveys or forms for your startup? We’d love to learn more, so please share in the comments below.