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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    What questions should I ask?

    Hey all,

    I'm in the final stages of getting my community website together and I'd like to offer some "interviews" with local business owners to add to the content I'm offering. My question is, what questions should I be asking them that a) they would be interested in talking about and b) that the local community would be interested in reading?

    The basics of my list include the following questions:

    1) What's the business and business owners name of course.
    2) What's the primary focus of your business?
    3) How and why did you get involved in this business?
    4) How long have you been in business?
    5) What do you like most about what you do?
    6) What's the most important thing you've learned as a business owner?
    7) What one thing would you differently in your business if you were to start all over again today?
    9) What one piece of advice would you offer to your customers who are looking to purchase (whatever it is they sell)?

    Alright - that's a good start, but I'd like to add to that list so they can pick and choose which one's they'd like to answer. What questions would you add to that list?

    Thanks for your great ideas!

    Steve
    Web Designer or Small Business Owner?
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Member
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    Maybe something like:
    - "What do you think about the development of e-commerce websites and selling products through the Internet?"
    - "What do you hope to achieve in the upcoming year / decennium / period of time?"

    On another note, are you going to do this by e-mail, of will you visit the people you want to interview? If the latter is the case you should definitely not just stick to the questions you prepared and wanted to ask. In my experience, people love to talk about theirselves and do so even more when those they are in conversation with show interest in what they have to say. Interviews usually get interesting if you formulate questions on the spot based on the answers you receive as well. This also takes the edge of the interview in my personal experience and makes it seem more like a conversation about a certain topic (of which you take some notes) and will therefore feel less static.
    This way the interviewed will also be much eager to talk and this usually results into more interesting answers.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Hey Logicus, and thanks for the good ideas. I should have mentioned that I'll be looking to local small business owners to interview since I'm focusing on a small geographical area here for my website - and while I'd like to visit with them personally, I may end up mailing (or emailing) questionnaires to business owners who are interested in being written up. I agree with you that coming up with questions on the spot would be a great way to get them to talk more, but since this project is in addition to my day job, I'll only have a little time on weekends to do all that I need to do here.

    Thanks for the ideas!

    Steve
    Web Designer or Small Business Owner?
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  4. #4
    ********* and Coffee Addict SmellTheCoffee's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,
    One direction I would take would be the question "What do you attribute to your success?". This is a fairly open ended question but as a former small business owner I can testify to the pride associated in starting and "raising" a company to maturity. This would probably be a good lead question since it will entice the interviewy to contribute more. My two cents...

    John
    "Your Internet Coffee Filter"

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Thanks John - and a good two cents they are!

    You know, the more I think about it, I think I'll make this more of an email/mail questionnaire instead of trying to actually interview someone. I know it won't be as personal, but I know if it were me on the other end of the questions, I'd appreciate some time to think and put together the best responses to them.

    Steve
    Web Designer or Small Business Owner?
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