A pretty smart guy reminded me recently of the reason we’re in business. He said it’s to “create customers.”
I thought about that and decided I had to agree.
Our businesses exist for a reason. I use to think the reason was to make widgets (insert your product or service here). But our customer needs to come first because a warehouse full of widgets does not a business make. However, add a line of several hundred people at that warehouse with money in hand eager to buy those widgets, now you have a business!
So, to really make your business work, put your customer first. Create them by first discovering who they are and then by giving them what they want.
I’m no more skilled at this than anyone but since I run a small business I have found the best way to do this is to simply ask questions. Have conversations with your customers (past, present and future). Ask them why they do business with you or your competition. Find out what they really want from companies like yours. Learn what causes them pain and pleasure. Be truly interested in them.
Find a way to build this into your routine. The more people you talk to and learn about (with regard to your product or service) the more you will know what your customers really want from you.
The fun thing about this is you meet a lot of wonderful people in the process. And, you develop the ability to match your company’s strengths with what your market wants. You find out what you can and should offer as well as what you can’t or should not offer.
The other nice thing about this idea is that it helps me remember that we are in business to serve our customers. That is our top priority. If we do that well the rest falls into place.