It’s getting to be that time again, holidays and end of year planning. This time of year can mean a few different things for the businesses out there trying to do great things. If you’re in retail it’s go time for you, the fun is just getting started. If you’re a CPA you might be heading into year end filings. If you’re in the construction trades you might be winding down. As 2017 comes to a close businesses find themselves in a few different seasons when it comes to their development cycles. One thing always stays the same though regardless of your industry.
The drive to get better in 2018.
This time of year my Audible library is especially full. I spend a little more time exploring and screening all the fun entrepreneurship books and titles that promise to help business owners be better. There are tons of great books out there from classics like “The $100 Start Up”, “Four Hour Work Week”, and “The Lean Startup” to “Reinventing You” and “Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days”. I’m seeing that there’s a bit of a lack of care though in one particular area, a business development hurdle of sorts.
That hurdle is really caring about the customer experience.
Sure, lots of resources ask you to survey your audiences, interview your customers and try to learn as much as you can about their pains and what they are willing to pay to solve them. That’s all well and good because it’s a function of getting your product or service into the hands of the people that really need it. And, I am all for efficiencies, especially when capital is hard to come by. These books really are great resources if you are looking to jump into something and go from zero to launch as quickly as you can. But, books like this do a really great job at giving you the initial energy and know how to get something MVP’ed out then sold and kind of leave you there.
If you’re trying to build real momentum in 2018 they leave you wanting for a little more about curating the customer experience and building for longevity in those customers.
Going straight from idea to sale which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just short term thinking leading to short term money. I’ve been witnessing a push for entrepreneurs to create, validate and build revenue only to sell the business they just created or be absorbed, aqui-hired, etc.
It’s a Hollywood Effect - you see the big players all over media and think to yourself, if they can do it why can’t I? I’m not saying don’t go for it, I am saying that it will be work, and lots of it, so be prepared.
*Stepping on to Soap Box* I tend to think less about MVP’s and more about customer experience and longevity of the firms I work with. It’s the stability that creates jobs that puts dollars into pockets and bolsters economies of all sizes. Granted an Instagram size acquisition will put get some a nice paycheck but the economic impact of that windfall can be limited depending on the intent and value of the nouveau rich. *Stepping off Soap Box*
Things to think about whether you are starting a new business or have been in business for years looking towards delivering the best possible customer experience:
1. What is the customer walking away with?
Are they just another walking wallet or user? What value is your product or service providing and is it doing that well enough to warrant a return customer? If you’re struggling with why they bought from you then you should check out last week’s post about buyer motivation.
2. What kind of impact do you see your business having on your community?
Communities don’t have to be the immediate neighborhoods, cities or towns you operate out of. Even on the web those that support, interact, and engage with you are part of your community. On top of the value from consuming what intangibles do your stakeholders get when they become part of your community. Are you furthering a cause? Do you have a mission? Give back? Maybe just a company that prides itself on its own integrity and that is enough to make customers want to keep coming back?
3. Don’t worry about price points right away or rushing to production.
Take time in making sure the quality of what you produce is where you want it. I’m not saying it has to be perfect but it should be something you can be proud of. Creativity and energy is going to keep pushing you to adjust and improve on the fly. If you rush to MVP and it flops will you have the time, energy, resources, and pride to see it through the creation/production cycle again.
These are only a few points I wanted to bring up. Making better decisions, cultivating real relationships with your customers and growing your business takes time. So if you’re serious about getting better in 2018 you have at least a full month head start on your competition. So start now.
Every creative and development process is a little different as there are lots of business models and platforms to build on. Don’t waste time trying to find the perfect model or methodology for your business. Spend all that time you’d usually allocate to Google searching the best way to get your customers to like you on actually engaging with your customers.
After reading this post I want you thinking about your business in a qualitative way and less of a how-can-I-pitch-this-if-I-were-on-Shark-Tank kind of way.