Do You Have What I Want and Need? You Say I am Your Customer…

As a small business owner, have you ever taken a moment to ask your customers what they need and/or want?

As in any relationship, we usually assume we know what the other person wants. Oftentimes it has nothing to do with his/her wants and needs, it is usually based on what we think he/she wants.

It’s the best thing since slice bread!

We tend to approach our business the same way. We have this great product or service that is going to “knock the socks off of our customers.” Why wouldn’t they want it!

Every successful marketer knows how important it is to have an understanding of the needs and wants of his/her customers BEFORE he/she creates the product.

Here are three tips to help you create a “winning” product/service right out the gate.

A Focus Group – gives you an opportunity to gain valuable insight about your potential product or service because you can actually test it. Your potential customers can tell you what is good and bad about it so that you will have an opportunity to tweak it before your bring it to market.

When I was considering going into the coaching business. I created a four hour workshop. I invited eight women to my house for Sunday Brunch to participate in it. It went so well!  I asked my manager if I could do it for my team members during one of our sales meetings.

I learned a simple but valuable lesson. I should have revised the workshop for a business setting because I was interacting with a different “customer.”

Surveys – this method is beneficial when you want to get a good sample size of the needs and wants of your customers. It’s a common and inexpensive way to get feedback about your product or service. It can be done by telephone, by mail, by fax, or via the internet.

It can be difficult to get people to participate in a survey unless you have access to a “pool” of people.  Consider that critical factor before you decide to use this approach.

Recently, I did a survey to find out what the core frustrations of my potential customers were.  I was able to find out some things that I had not considered to be key issues for my potential customers. As a result, I tried to provide information and services to address the needs and wants of my customers.

By the way, please take a moment to let me know what additional information and resources you would like for me to provide to you. In addition, let me know what business stage you are in (not yet in business, early stages, and etc.)

On-line forums – Participate in online forums where your potential customers frequent. If you take the time to “listen,”  you can find out a lot of information about what their needs and wants are.

We know that one of the key ingredients of any great relationship is our willingness to “listen.”

I am doing a webinar, The Ten Steps to Having a Successful Home Based Business, tomorrow with ACCION USA. I participated in a forum the other day that was a group of small business owners discussing some of their main obstacles in regards to working from home and how they deal with it. Great Stuff!

I was able to get an idea of what some of the core issues are for small business owners working from home and will be incorporating the information into my presentation.

By all means, you should do the market research by going to the library to learn more about your customer as well. Nevertheless, these three tips will give you a competitive advantage because you will actually be receiving valuable information from your customers that will help you create a superior product or service that you can be confident that your customers wants and needs.

Don’t forget to leave a comment letting me know what you want and need. I am looking forward to hearing from you all!

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