You’re trying to start a business doing what you love – caring about the world around you and longing to make a difference. Your passion seeps through your pores. Ideas emerge constantly. You could talk for hours.
Yet month after month, money drains from your account. Not much is coming in to replace it.
But you’re confident that it will work. It MUST work. You’ll be able to use your passion to pay the bills.
You tell yourself that it will be fine once you start to get some customers. They just need to know you exist and then of course they’ll be interested. Everyone will love your idea, right?
if you do only one thing for your business this week
Rather than a long to do list to burden you this week, I offer you one task. One giant leap forward towards using your passion in business.
Speak to your potential customers.
Before deciding to change your offering, before spending hours on busy tasks like websites or design, get away from your desk and talk to the people who you want to help.
the shift to listening
When we’re starting out with an idea, sometimes the passion can get in the way. We truly believe that we’ve created a solution that people are going to LOVE. And sometimes, because we are so passionate, we fail to notice the signs around us that tell us that people don’t quite love it.
Instead, we keep ourselves busy with all the tasks of starting a business. There’s so much to learn and do. We create lists of many possible customers. We create lists of more features to add. We start to focus on pushing what we’ve created rather than, critically, listening to what people actually want and need. And, in the end, we run a big risk of creating something that nobody actually wants.
So before you get too far down that path and waste tons of time and money…
how to start the conversation
To create something that customers really want, you’ll need to listen to your target market like you’ve never done before.
First, choose just one ideal customer. What kind of person / organisation are you looking for and what are they struggling with? Write this down so you know who you should be talking to.
Second, create a short survey so you can find out as much about them as possible. Here’s an example of one I’ve created recently for a new package I’m putting together. Feel free to swipe the questions and adapt them as necessary for your business focus.
Third, send the survey out to the RIGHT people. You don’t want your mom answering these questions (unless she’s a target customer). Be clear about who you’re looking for so that the answers you receive are relevant.
Fourth, have real conversations with people too. Get on the phone or speak to people face-to-face. Ask the same questions, but dig deeper. Really listen out for the problems they speak about and the language that they use to describe them.
I promise that you’ll learn so much about your target market from this process. It will help you to focus your ideas. It will help you to make decisions about your business. And, hopefully, it will help you create something that people actually want to buy.
take action now
One of my clients had been working on a prototype of a particular shape and size for MONTHS. After conversations with potential clients this weekend, she learned that it’s not what they want. It wouldn’t suit their needs. They wouldn’t be interested in what she’s been developing.
But they would be interested in buying a different shape with different features. And so she’s going back to the lab today to try out some new ideas.
If you’re ready to stop assuming and start listening, click here to book in a Focus Session. I’ll help you get clear on your ideal client and how to create a strategy to start the conversation. Make a commitment to make your passion work for your business.
over to you
When was the last time you listened to your customers? What valuable insights did they share with you? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.
p.s. pass it on
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