Know what you want to find out

by | Jul 12, 2018 | 0 comments

We have been teaching a group of high-school students from the US as part of their study abroad programme on Entrepreneurship. Part of the programme involves doing market research and asking people in the street questions based around a broad theme of sports in Ireland. Now in theory this seems like a fairly straight forward task, and one they got stuck into but not long after starting to design the survey one major problem became really clear, there was no definite objective. OK so the objective was to find out about engagement of the general Irish public with sports in Ireland but there was also a subtle under text which was directed towards a certain team in a certain sport and to find out about market engagement with that particular club.  So far so good you might think, well no. What that club hadn’t specified was what they were looking to do, there was no definite objective or outcome.

They hadn’t asked themselves one fundamental question, what are they doing the market research for? They will find out that a certain percentage of the Irish population in Dublin engage with a certain percentage of sports and clubs but because they were not specific in their requirements thats really all they will know. If for arguments sake their objective was to increase the number of supporters at a game by 20% or to increase sales of merchandise by 20% then we could have tailored the market research to have identified potential opportunities potential problems and really given them some data (and ourselves some data) to work with. But because the objective was so vague then the research will be so vague.

The moral of the story is that when you want to ask your customers, potential customers or funders a question based on your business make sure you have a specific outcome in mind.  Now I am not saying you should tweek the question to give you the response that you are looking for, no way, as this will give you a false set of data to work with.  No what I am saying is that if you want to do something specific or hear someones opinion of a certain matter then tailor the question to produce the answer.  Sometimes we don’t like being direct as we are afraid of the answer but if you want to find something out then I’m afraid you are going to have to get over it and ask and keep asking.

So your exercise for today is to ask your clients about a specific problem / question you need an answer to.  Write down what you are trying to achieve, think of 10 questions you want to ask – making sure that for at least 8 of the questions it is very easy to quantify the data (so here we are talking checkboxes, yes/no, dropdown, multiple choice) as these are easier to get analytical results from and 1 or 2 max longer expanded questions.  (tip: you can always use Other and ask people to state what other is) only analysing text is at best subjective and at worst impossible unless you are very skilled in determining the results – this also means that it is very time consuming.

Now you have your 10 questions think of whom you are trying to get the answers from, think of your target market as not everyone will be your target market or be the target for your market research.  Think about the quota of responses you need from each segment and send your survey to them and watch the results flood in (or not as the case maybe.)

On a practical level and with no affiliation to them whatsoever, you can set up a free account on Survey Monkey that allows you to design a survey with 10 questions and get 100 responses – makes it easy to quantify the results.

And the last part, remember to be specific in what you are asking for and just do it.

Upcoming Courses

Creative Entrepreneurs Summer School

27 - 29 July 2018
Ashford, Co. Wicklow

Developing Your Creative Career (Online)

August 2018

Creative Thinking & Ideation Workshop

13 August 2018
Ashford, Co/ Wicklow

Value Propositions

15 October 2018
Ashford, Co/ Wicklow

Ian Oliver

Ian Oliver

Head of Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship


Building change for Sustainable Creative Careers

Ian has over 15 years’ senior management and entrepreneurial experience in the Arts, creative and technology Sectors and 4 years’ experience working with Local Government, Local Enterprise Offices, Local Arts Offices, Arts Organisations and Venues, Universities, Businesses and Community Groups throughout Ireland, auditing and engaging the artistic and creative community within specific geographic regions.

Currently Ian is working on advising and designing sustainable projects that utilise art and creativity as the main driver to effect sustainable economic and social change.  He also teaches and mentors artistic and creative entrepreneurship training to adult learners and undergraduate students.

Ian’s experience includes developing and implementing business / career / marketing strategies, marketing, business development, digital media, digital content creation, communications, project management, developing business, marketing and digital media strategies and implementation, project development, management and budgeting, resource management, team development and cohesion, training and training distribution methods for clients, staff and stakeholders.

Ian regularly gives papers on Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship including:


  • What is Creative Entrepreneurship, Trans National Creative Exchange, Solent University Southampton, October 2015;
  • The Role of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Developing Talent and Opportunities, Slovak Government as part of their EU Presidency, Bratislava, September 2016;
  • Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts, 20th Anniversary Conference, University of Pécs, Hungary, November 2016;
  • Developing a Creative Model Canvas, 3E Conference, Cork, May 2017.

We team creativity and entrepreneurship for impact and profitability!

We specialise in entrepreneurial training and provide business support for Cultural and Creative Professionals, Businesses and Organisations.

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Upcoming Events:


Entrepreneurship Training Programme for Creatives

Ashford, Co Wicklow: 27 - 29 July 2018

Early Bird: €200 - till the 1 July 2018 Standard: €300

This practical 2.5-day Entrepreneurship Training Programme for Creatives has been especially designed for all those who want to set up, run or further develop their own creative business, organisation or project in a professional and sustainable way.

During the programme participants will develop a practical and comprehensive strategy that will provide a blueprint for their future success.

Developing a sustainable business model, understanding and articulating competitive advantage and unique selling points, defining value proposition, identifying go to market strategy and long term business goals will be the focus for the programme.

Participants can expect:

  • dynamic, effective and highly individualised training
  • experience-based learning
  • lots of feedback from tutors and peers

The training will be delivered by experienced tutors combining their own creative backgrounds with years of running creative businesses and teaching entrepreneurship to creatives.

The programme, initiated by the Centre for Creative Practices in Dublin in 2013, has been attended by over 800 creative entrepreneurs in Ireland and Europe, earning enthusiastic reviews and helping creative practitioners to successfully grow their business, organisation or project.

These 2.5 days will be the best investment you have made in your creative career!


Creative Thinking and Co-Creation Techniques

1 day workshop
Ashford, Co. Wicklow
13 August 2018

Early Bird: €150
Standard: €250

By using a number of creative thinking techniques we will give practical examples of how you can take ideas from conception to reality. Based around the frameworks of  PO statements to "Yes, and..." we will look to develop out of the box creative solutions for real World problems.  We will look at a three stage work-flow taking us from idea generation, through validating the idea and testing.  We will look at a three stage work-flow taking us from idea generation, through validating the idea and testing.

Creative Business Model Development

1 day workshop
Ashford, Co. Wicklow
10 September 2018

Early Bird: €85
Standard: €125

The workshop will help you to answer all your strategic questions and to define the backbone of your creative business. It helps you to prepare a smart plan for the short, medium and also the long term perspective of your creative business.

Value Proposition Design

1 day workshop
15 October 2018

Early Bird: €85
Standard: €125

To run any successful business you need a clearly defined VALUE PROPOSITION that explains how your product/service solves your customers’ problem, need or improves their situation. A Value Proposition allows you to define who your customers are and to offer them what they really want. It also helps to secure grant aid or private investment.

Developing Your Creative Career

June 2018
Course Cost: €150

Whether you are a graduate, or looking to develop your creative career this course will give you clarity, focus and a roadmap to work from. During the course we ​will look at your purpose,​ ​your niche,​ ​your dream job or career position​ ​and identify​ the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

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The Old Milking Parlour
Ballymurrin Lower, Kilbride
Wicklow, Ireland, A67TK64

Monday–Friday: 10:00AM–6:00PM

tel: +353(0)858895499

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