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.
There are three main benefits to focusing on knowing your customers over designing your products:
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!
Here’s the real question: how exactly can you get this deep knowing and understanding of your customers? There are three main strategies.
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:
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!
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.
Once you know your customers, you can go back to your product offering to validate and refine it. Ask yourself the following questions:
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!
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?
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