Know your customer (No, your customer!)

The biggest mistake that you can make as a business owner is to only sell the things that you want. This happens wiht many people who follow the advice of “solving your own problems first” and who believe that will turn into a business.

Unfortunately, just because you have a problem, doesn’t mean there is enough of an audience of people who also have that problem. And even if there is, they don’t necessarily want the solution that you want.

When you build what you want, you miss the chance to build what everyone else wants. When you build what you think people need, you miss the chance to build what they really need. And that’s a fail-point for many companies and would-be business owners.

And it’s related to another problem. Many business owners just won’t listen to what their customer wants. They don’t know how their customer wants them to talk, what their customer wants to hear, what their customer needs to hear.

People make these mistakes because they haven’t taken the time to get to know their target market and learn about them.

I’m talking about building audience profiles that work. But building them slowly and iteratively, growing to know your audience as you work with them.

How do you define your customer?

When you launch your product or your business, you should never be doing it on the back of zero data. That’s a mistake right out of the gate. It’s a waste of energy if you don’t have a baseline of information about who your audience are.

This is why when when you launch anything, whether it’s a service or a product, you must start by asking questions. Asking simple questions that give you answers you can drill into for detail.

We also know that a customer base is going to evolve. It’s only natural, and in fact it’d be a sign of stagnation if it didn’t happen. You have to recognise that this research, this exploration of who the people you talk to really are, is going to need to be an on-going process.

That means continually learning about them and tracking new information. It's valuable to have a secondary profile list, that you build on a quarterly basis. This should be constructed from regular data and story gathering. At the end of the quarter, you can match it to your existing customer profiles and note how they’ve changed or evolved in the past 3 months.


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