If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own. - Henry Ford
If a small business owner such as yourself can learn one thing in the next 6 months about how to run a successful small business, this quote will sum it all up for you. Being able to identify with your customer/client is the number one way to ensure you’re building a proper marketing plan to reach them, and also using the right strategy to reel them in and generate that sale. In this edition of Quotable Business I want to touch on some thoughts on how you can build success as a small business by reading your prospects mind and thinking like a consumer.
I was recently reading the Guerrilla Marketing book and came across a passage in it that struck me as somewhat odd, until I re-read it and really understood what it was talking about. It gave an overview on how a guerrilla marketer thinks. How the guerrilla thinks backwards from the sale and thinks to himself/herself:
- How did this prospect get to the point of purchase?
- What did they see or hear that made them come here?
- What did I do that grabbed their attention?
- How can I grab the right prospects attention and generate sales?
By backwards thinking, you can examine the results first and then more easily connect with the earlier steps in the selling process. If you were to sit and try and think of ideas on how to sell your product, it would take a lot longer then answering the simple question: “Why did this person buy from me?”
Understanding the customer mind
Think like the consumer. If you were in the market for “product X” (the product or service you’re selling), what would be things you’re looking for in order to make an informed decision on what to buy? What questions should you ask yourself in order to better understand the customer mind? It might be easier then you think, seeing as how you buy things every day. For instance, if you are looking for toothpaste, what are some things you think of when picking out the right toothpaste.
- Do I need whitening?
- Do I want regular flavor or mint/lemon/ect?
- Do I need extra plaque fighting toothpaste
- and so on
So, by simply thinking like the consumer and answering the questions you’d ask yourself, you can get the correct answers and build off of that. Real life example:
I run a blog design business. I am currently rebuilding the entire website and branding efforts and have recently gone through this process as well. Here’s some of the questions I asked myself as the customer.
- Why do I want to write? for fun or profit?
- If for profit, how will a custom design increase my revenue?
- If for fun, can the potential designer create something that fits me perfectly as a person and blends into the topic seamlessly
- What kind of extras do I want, like customized front page layouts, video blogging abilities, ect.
The list went on and on, but you get the point I am trying to make. By building this list, you can definitely have a full understanding of who you’re targeting as far as your clients and customers go.
Building your marketing strategy
I talked about this before and laid out a simple 7 sentence guide to building your own Guerrilla Marketing strategy and implementing it. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, I’d recommend it either now, or at a later time.
Once you go through the process of thinking like the customer, you have to build a marketing strategy that revolves around their thought processes. Showcasing your consulting services inside of a child day care will not reach your target market. Showcasing your consulting services as “fast and affordable” will not grab your target market by the heart and make them believe that they need to purchase from you. Once you can think like the customer, you can sell the customer more easily. Now, get out there, think like a customer, and build a good marketing and branding strategy.
Feel free to comment on this article with your product or service and I can help give you some pointers on some questions you should answer to better think like the consumer in your target market.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect – Mark Twain
Bootstrapping involves risk and risk involves taking a road less traveled. The above quote sums up a lot of the most successful business owners feelings when talking about how they got where they are. Lets face it; following the majority will only let you become as successful as they have been – if you’re lucky. More times then most though, you’ll end up with a fraction of the success as the ones before you because the public has already seen it and is tired of it.
Taking That Risk
Some solid risk assessment skills are no doubt needed in order to become a successful risk taker. This article does not mean that quitting your job with no savings and nowhere to live is the way to go. But just be sure to know that there is no such thing, in my opinion, as a calculated risk. If it’s been over calculated, it’s no longer a risk, but just another run at a business.
Why Bootstrappers LOVE Risk
Bootstrappers love risk (or at least you better get to that point) for many reasons. For most of us, it’s embedded in our DNA when we are born; natural risk takers. For others, it is a skill that is built over time. Either way, risk is a big factor in someone coasting through life or living life to its fullest.
Bootstrappers who take the risks to get to the next level in their business find one of two things:
- They fail and learn a big lesson that they will apply to their next risk
- They succeed and gain tons of profit that they would have never saw without the risk taking
If you fail when you take your risks, do not look at it as a failure, but a learning process. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he succeeded, so why can’t you? By failing, you’re gaining not only the knowledge to grow in a positive direction, but you’re also getting the ‘tough skin’ needed to succeed in business and move forward when everything is trying to stop you.
When you succeed in your bootstrapped business because of a risk you took, you feel like a champion. Nothing works better for increased energy levels at work then succeeding and feeling on top of the world. The positive feelings in knowing that your risk (you know, the thing everyone advised you against doing) paid off is infinite. I personally get a great feeling, not only in knowing that I succeeded, but in knowing that I proved everyone wrong. So go ahead, take that risk, you’ll be surprised at whats on the other side.
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If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
This post will show you exactly why being simple in explaining your business can be the difference in sales or no sales.
See how easy that was? In one sentence I gave you the entire overview of this article. No fluff, no overdone explanation, no rambling. That is the perfect example of why being simple, to the point and straight forward in any conversational material can mean the difference in someone skipping it, skimming it or remembering it. Bootstrappers know that time is of the essence and saving any amount of time you can is always great for business. So, why do we always seem to get into a constant ramble session when someone asks us what we do for a living? Why do we not have out elevator speech prepared and memorized (or at least the basis of it, I mean, after all we don’t want to sound like robots)?More Information
The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive. Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
- Albert Einstein
If you’ve never hear this phrase before, I hope that seeing it now will ignite a fire inside your mind to really think about what is most important in life and also in business. If you have read this quote before, follow along with me as I break down both Success and Value because I’m sure there’s something I’ll talk about that you might not have thought about before.
For those of you just joining us for the first time, thank you for reading my blog and I do invite you to leave comments on anything you find interesting or if you have questions for me at all. Also, just a quick note to everyone reading, the Quotable Business category will now feature articles that are written around a famous quote and shown how any quote can be turned into a quote about business.
Success VS Value
There are many people who will lump both of these categories together when talking about their life and the things they’ve done, but as the genius Albert Einstein has shown us in this quote, they are definitely two totally different things and should be viewed on as such. No matter if you discuss your life and talk about the success you have gained, or if you discuss the value you’ve added to the world, you are free to do as you please, but I do believe that Albert Einstein is right when he tells us to become a “man of value”. Value lasts forever, while Success can run out very quick depending on how good you are with finances.
MAN OF SUCCESS
There are a few things that measure a man’s success. They are as follows:
Now, you can break each of these categories down into smaller, more targeted categories like cars, houses and jewelry for assets. For the sake of keeping the article to the point, I will just keep the list at two items; Money and Assets.
Now, money can buy you lots of things, but as the saying goes, money doesn’t buy happiness. Think about how many rich people in the world have committed suicide. Why would they do something like this if the money they had truly made them happy?
Your assets can be left behind to your loved ones, or given away to charity (this also holds true to your money) so I do believe that these things do have a purpose and are valuable. However, I do not think that they hold a candle to the amount of respect you can gain when you are a man of value.
MAN OF VALUE
When you are a man of value, you can break this down into a couple of simple categories as well;
The above two things can also be broken down into smaller categories, but again, for the sake of keeping this article to the point, I’ll leave those out. After all, you’ve got to have room to think after you read the article, so you can break out the pad and pencil and jot down a few ideas that come to mind when you think about Respect and Honor.
I believe that Respect is the ultimate form of currency. If you’ve got respect, you can get just about anything you want out of a person. On the other hand, if you’re rich, but everyone hates you and no one respects you, you’ll surely not get a tenth of what you would with their respect.
Honor is another big thing with me. You can cal it a macho male ego if you want, that’s fine. Regardless, you have to look at honor for what it truly is. When you have honor, you have morals and values that exceed anything money can do for you. Yes, you can give your child money if you feel bad for yelling at them, and yes, you can buy an expensive gift after the argument you have with your significant other, but what about not yelling or arguing in the first place? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
What I believe Albert Einstein was saying in the quote is that in order to really make an impact with your life, the money will only place you in a group of thousands of other rich people. It’s the selfless good deeds you do that will set you apart from the rest and etch your name into history. This goes for business as well.
Value with business
This could be many things but the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Value and business is the quality of the work or product you are supplying. If you’re in the service industry, you must make it a point to give the highest quality service in the world. Your business can gain vast amounts of money, but without a positive reply to the question “How was our service when you hired us?” your business will surely sink, and fast.
Albert Einstein was a genius and I believe any quote you can find of his or anyone elses for that matter can be applied to business. So, take a bit of time and think about what you’re aiming for with your business; Success or Value?
Leave a comment and let me know which you would choose and why. I’m interested to see what you strive for with your businesses and think it would make a great discussion.
Editors Note: This is the first of many articles to come in 2008 that take famous quotes and turn them into business topics. If you’ve got a quote that you live by, let me know and I’ll try to write up an article on it. Also I want to apologize for those who are wondering why the first article of the year is coming halfway through the month. We’re now back on track and will be posting quality content regularly now.