Know Your Customer

Know Your Customer

by Mark Selby, 9 October 2019

What does Albert Einstein know about entrepreneurs, securing angel investors and getting your startup off the ground? As with many aspects of life, it turns out a surprising amount. Read on.

Quick note: if you haven’t seen our previous pieces on eyeing up the competition, strategies for market penetration and finding a route to market for your product, give them a read. This blog builds on those concepts and focuses on one commandment: know your customer and be of value to them.

That said, let’s flash back to Einstein’s home in Princeton, New Jersey – a few months before his death in 1955, where a group of visitors are interviewing him. When asked which goal should motivate the human race, Einstein replies: “Never lose a holy curiosity. Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

How does that relate to starting a business or crafting a perfect elevator pitch? Two pearls of wisdom lie therein. First off, the “holy curiosity” – keep an open mind; stay curious; ask questions; marvel at things. You won’t burn out and your ideas will reflect that freedom.

Be Valuable

Next, define the precise “value” your product offers to people. In the world of business pitches, that translates to thinking about your customers – past, present or future – knowing them and producing something that holds value in their lives. From there, put your company in a position to deliver that value.

As ever, start general, then get specific. Who are your customers? What do they do, where are they and how much are they willing to pay for your service? Are they major league baseball players in the US or small businesses? Beyond that, how many clients do you need to purchase your goods in order to sustain and grow your business? Good pitches address those questions.

Once you know where your potential customers are, get to know them personally. How? Take matters into your own hands. Survey a small focus group from different walks of life, then perhaps offer a trial package. Next, consider a larger formalised study of hundreds or thousands of individuals.

Already have a prototype? Let a test group loose on it and study the results. Offer an all-access pass to your website or a trial free for 60 days. If you’ve progressed to the sales stage, find out how your customers feel about their purchase.

No matter how developed your product or service is, ask these questions and return to them periodically. They will help guide your thinking and keep you curious about how you can provide more value for your customers. Ultimately, that will determine your success.

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