Episode #13: Do This One Thing to Create Better Products for Your Online Business

attracting your ideal customer run the business May 28, 2020

We recently finished our first online workshop on how to determine if your business idea is feasible. It was so exciting to see nods of understanding from participants...and at times, a little disheartening to see confused looks. But either way, it was very fulfilling to get to know and understand our customers a little better!

Understanding our customers helps us learn and grow. We use what we learn to adjust and improve our workshop for the next round of customers.

As you think about your business idea, your energy and focus should be on deeply knowing your customer—even more so than designing your product! This is the one thing you can do to create better products. We estimate that you should be 70% focused on knowing and understanding your customers, and 30% focused on designing your products.

We know—it sounds a little backwards. If products are what you’re selling, shouldn’t they take up the majority of your focus? But we’re going to share with you why knowing your customers should be 70% of your focus, and tell you exactly how you can do so.

3 Benefits of Knowing Your Customers

There are three main benefits to focusing on knowing your customers over designing your products: 

  • Your product development will be a lot easier. Knowing your customer deeply—such as what they care about, what their goals are, and what they struggle with most—gives you an instant framework on which to build your product. Your product will naturally emerge from this knowing!
  • Ensure your product will add value to your customers. By completely understanding your customers, you can be sure that what you produce will actually help them.
  • Sales will be easier. If you know your customers extremely well, you can be confident that you’re not selling them something they don’t need. Your goal should be to know your customers so well and know that your product fits their needs so well that it would be a disservice to not offer your product to them!

Also, keep in mind that people buy from brands they know and trust. Demonstrating that you know and understand your customers is a surefire way to build trust with your potential customers!

3 Strategies for Understanding Your Customers

Here’s the real question: how exactly can you get this deep knowing and understanding of your customers? There are three main strategies.

Talk to Your Customers

This one sounds obvious, but it’s critical! You can only learn so much by researching your niche—you have to get out there and actually talk to your customers. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Set up interview sessions with people in your niche to understand their goals and struggles.
  • Join Facebook groups where your potential customers hang out. Notice what they’re talking about and ask questions to better understand them. (You can also start your own Facebook group to cultivate your own community.)
  • Send out surveys via your email list, Facebook group, or social media to get more insight into specific questions you have.

Be Curious & Ask Thoughtful Questions

We often hear people say, “But...I don’t know what questions to ask!”

It’s okay to start with some basics, like “What are your goals?” or “What are your struggles?” But it’s important to go beyond these and be both a student and an investigator.

To best do this, try to understand the “why” behind the what. Don’t just settle for the face-value answer someone gives you. Ask more questions! Sometimes people haven’t thought about the “why” behind a struggle or goal until someone prompts them to do so.

Don’t get caught up on asking the “right” questions. Be curious and follow your instincts: if you want to know something about a potential customer, just ask them!

Give Them The Spotlight

People love to be heard, so focus more on listening than on talking or asking questions. When there’s silence, it can be tempting to fill it with what you expect the answer to be, but be patient and allow people to think to give you the best possible answer.

Lastly, be empathetic. Work to understand what it’s like to be in their shoes, even if you think you have the answer to their struggles.

How Understanding Customers Leads to Better Products

Once you know your customers, you can go back to your product offering to validate and refine it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this product or service going to help them achieve their goal? How?
  • Is this product or service going to help them solve a problem or alleviate a struggle? How?
  • What, if anything, do they need before using your product to achieve their goal or solve their problem? (For example, customers needed a business idea before attending our workshop on feasibility.)

As you grow your business and have more customers, you can continue to understand their goals and struggles and adapt your product or service accordingly. You should grow along with your business! 

The 7-Day ‘Know Your Customer’ Challenge

By now, you understand why spending 70% of your time understanding your customers is so important, and have some concrete tips you can use to put that in action. Taking this approach helps your product design emerge out of thin air, because as you dig deep into your customer’s world, you’ll have a crystal clear vision of what they need and how you can help them.

Here’s our challenge: pick 3-5 people who are your customers or potential customers and focus your energy over the next 7 days on getting to know their story. Here is exactly what we want you to do for this challenge: 

Gather this information:

•       What do they care about?

•       What are their goals? What is currently motivating them?

•       What are they struggling with?

•       Who do they interact with?

•       What does their daily life look like?

•       What are their social media habits?

Do these things:

•       Setup 30 min interview sessions.

•       Email them a quick survey. 

•       Join the groups where your potential customers hang out and pay attention to what they are talking about

•       Posts some questions on social media

Taking this challenge will get you so much insight into your customers and give you a huge insight into what your product or service should look like.  

We hope this approach has clarified for you what’s really important in designing and creating products—and we hope you’ll take on our challenge! For more insight and examples relating to the topics we covered, be sure to listen to the full episode. 

Are you ready to learn about the reason behind the original 40 hour work week and why using technology, experts, and the internet to leverage your productivity to work less hours is so important?

Great! Go ahead and listen. Then leave a comment on our private 20 Hour Work Week Movement Facebook Group to help support everyone in this movement.

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