surveys | July 30, 2020

Startup Survey Ideas & Questions (with Examples)

Daniel Ndukwu

Starting a new brand with an idea you think will succeed is exciting. The truth can be a bit depressing. Oft-quoted statistics say that up to 90% of new businesses fail within their first decade and this number may be worse for first-time founders.

Business failure is often preventable if you do your research beforehand and answer important questions.

  • How much should you charge
  • Who’s your best market segment
  • How long does the buying process take
  • Who are the major competitors in the market

In this guide, I’ll share multiple startup survey ideas and the different questions you can ask. You’ll be able to understand everything from the size of your market to their willingness to pay using the insights from this post.

The end result is the confidence (and knowledge) you need to launch a wildly successful brand from scratch. Let’s dive in.

What startups should use surveys

Founders have the unshakable belief that they’ve stumbled upon a good idea and they can start a business that will succeed. They will stop at nothing to see it come to life. It’s a good and bad thing.

The problem is that their ideas often need work to make it over the hump. Maybe that killer feature isn’t so killer. It’s possible you’ve selected the wrong market or distribution channel. It could be that the messaging is slightly off and instead of it being a resounding yes, prospects will have to think long and hard.

Whatever the case, there are too many unknowns out there to jump in headfirst. Startups should adopt the concepts of design thinking and use surveys to stress test their own assumptions and ideas. You may be pleasantly surprised that you find a better way of doing something or a better way to reach potential customers.

You may even find out that the product you want to create has little to no commercial intent or you’re too early. There are countless use cases for surveys and in the next section, you’ll learn different types of surveys you can use to ensure you make the right moves.

6 Startup survey ideas

Market research survey

The first type of survey on this list and one of the most important helps you understand what’s happening in your market, the people there, and what they’re looking for. It’ll form the foundation of your early product and marketing decisions and is something you should spend a reasonable amount of time on.

A market research survey should be conducted after you’ve collected all the information you can use secondary data collection methods. This will help you create better questions and unlock meaningful insights. If not, you may have to conduct market research surveys multiple times

Demographic survey

Demographic data is the easiest type of information to acquire but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. It includes things like age, income, family makeup, education level, etc. When you have clear demographic information, you’ll be able to make assumptions about what you can and can’t do.

For example, if your target market is college-educated, you can add references to college life in your marketing. You can also make assumptions about what they’ll understand without a detailed explanation.

If the majority of your audience has young children, you can talk about how your product is family-friendly. Demographic data can be powerful if used properly. To make that happen, it’s necessary to ask the right questions which you can find here.

Price sensitivity survey

Price sensitivity is how much the cost of a product impacts the customer’s willingness to pay. Put another way, it determines how much extra profit you’ll make if you increase or reduce your prices. Most people don’t put much thought into their prices and simply copy what competitors are doing.

While you can turn a profit with this approach, you often leave money on the table. A price sensitivity survey will help you understand what features appeal to what people and how much they’re willing to pay.

For example, if you have an email marketing company, you may serve bloggers, software companies, ecommerce brands, etc.

A price sensitivity survey will show you the features bloggers want and how much they can afford. Software companies may be willing to pay more for different features like automation and predictive sending.

With that information, you can create pricing packages that reflect the different segments you cater to. Running a price sensitivity survey can have a huge impact on your success rate and remove you from the statistic that says the majority of businesses fail within a decade.

Product-market fit survey

Launching a product is easy. Making it better over time is difficult. You’ll constantly be taking feedback from your audience and customers and tweaking your product(s). How do you know if you’re adding and removing the right features or benefits? How do you understand if people are happy with the product and truly love it?

A product-market fit survey will help you bridge that gap. There’s a single question that asks:

  • How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?

There are four options.

  1. Very disappointed
  2. Somewhat disappointed
  3. Not disappointed (it isn’t really that useful)
  4. N/A – I no longer use [product]

According to Sean Ellis, if 40% of people respond that they’d be very disappointed then you may have product-market fit.

Product feedback survey

You can make assumptions about your product based on order frequency, reviews, etc. but it won’t yield concrete insights you need to make large changes. A product feedback survey will give you information about what aspects people liked, disliked, and why they feel that way about your products.

Here are a few questions you can ask in your product feedback survey (keep in mind that most of them will be open-ended questions):

  • What were your first impressions of the product?
  • Is it worth it for the price?
  • Where is the product lacking?
  • Where does the product excel?

Net promoter score survey

The NPS survey was developed by Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company. It’s used to gauge customer loyalty and to your brand. It combines a closed ended scaled question with an open-ended question to deliver deep insights.

The beauty of this survey is that it’s short and it gets straight to the point and allows you to quantify results with a score. The problem is that it only gives you a single data point. If you decide to incorporate this survey, it’s important to use it regularly over time.

The first score you get doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. What matters is how the score changes over time. The question is:

  • How likely are you to recommend (our product/company/service) to your (friends/family/colleagues).

They get to choose between 0 – 10. The people who rate you six and lower are considered your detractors, 7-8 are neutral, and 9 – 10 are your promoters.

Depending on how they answer, you’ll follow up with a question asking what you could do better or what makes them love your product.

Those are a few solid survey ideas for your startup to get started on the right foot and grow quickly. Now, let’s look at specific questions you can ask your customers to create better marketing campaigns, position your brand, and even validate ideas.

Survey questions to validate your product, marketing, and positioning

These questions can be used as part of larger surveys or multiple surveys. Keep in mind that the more questions you use, the more likely people are to abandon them. It’s better to send shorter surveys more frequently. That way you can get higher response and completion rates.

  • What’s your biggest challenge related to X?

X is the problem your solution is meant to solve. This question will do two things. Identify psychographic segments in your audience which you can tailor your messaging too and give you voice of the customer data you can use to enhance your marketing.

  • What problem are you solving with X product?

This will let you know how they’re using your product. You may even uncover some uncommon use cases.

  • What product have you used to solve this problem in the past?
    • Why did you leave them?
    • Why did you choose them

The main question here can help you identify the major competitors in your niche. You can then analyze their marketing strategies, value proposition, pricing, and even find unique use cases.

  • How would you describe yourself (occupation, type of business, or another relevant market for your business)
    • Answer 1
    • Answer 2
    • Answer 3

This will allow you to give their answers the proper weight. A person may be responding to your survey within a niche or occupation that you thought didn’t have a use for your product.

  • Which of the following features is most important to you?
    • Feature 1
    • Feature 2
    • Feature 3
    • Feature 4
  • Which of the following features is least important to you?
    • Feature 1
    • Feature 2
    • Feature 3
    • Feature 4

This question gives you insights into what matters to each demographic segment in your target market. You can adjust your marketing or pricing to target those specific groups of people.

  • At what price would you consider it too expensive for the features offered? (open-ended question)
  • At what price would you consider so cheap you’d begin to question the quality of the product?

These questions are related to price sensitivity and will let you know how much people in different segments are willing to pay for a solution. You’ll map these questions against the previous question to get a better idea of how much each group has to spend on your product.


A startup is fun, exciting, and can change your life. It’s also full of challenges, false starts, and everything in between. This guide has gone through some startup surveys that can make your journey easier.

There are surveys for every stage but focus on the ones that are important to you right now.  Use market research and demographic surveys when starting. If you have customers use NPS and product-market fit surveys.

Most importantly, use the feedback you’ve gained to improve your products, services, and brand. Let me know what surveys you’ve used in the past and don’t forget to share.

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