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If You’re Acting like a Business Owner, You’ve Probably Got it All Wrong

As a business owner, our first line of thinking is “What makes the most sense? Which metric will this improve?”

As consumers, our first thoughts are “How does this benefit me? What pain point is this solving?”

This stencil of thinking can clearly paint a disconnect. While as a business owner we want to increase orders and up our metrics to add to our trophy shelf. Every business thinks of themselves as a unicorn, a disrupter, and sets out to climb the mighty Forbes lists rankings.

But we need to take off our business owner hat, zoom out, and be truthful.

“Is this something that I would respond to if I were a consumer?”

Don’t get lost with patting yourself on the back because you have a nifty marketing slogan. “Oh my gosh, this is a great idea. This will bring me business in droves”. 

Be harsh and really throw yourself on the fire (we are not advocating you physically do this. It will hurt). Take a hard look at what you’re expecting your target market to respond to, think about whether or not another business has employed the same tactic and make note of your reaction as a consumer.

Example: How many times have you gone home to find a flyer hanging on your door hanger, took a look at it and purchased whatever this flyer was advertising? We’re willing to bet never. Where do those pieces of “genius” usually end up? The trash.

If this scenario rings true to you, then why do you insist on doing the exact same thing?

This doesn’t only apply to your print marketing but your business as a whole, from where and how you find your customers to what happens after they’ve given you the business and their trust.

And now, if you are wondering where to begin on how to stand out, here are some starting points:

  • Not all “Great” ideas are great.
  • Use reverse engineering to help you.
  • After Care.

Not all “great” ideas are great.

Someone at Coca Cola thought Vanilla Coke was a great idea. 

Someone thought Sharknado was a great idea.

Someone thought Fyre Fest was a good idea.

We stress so much on how to design a product or service that people will buy but fail to put on those same shoes and think as a consumer. Subsequently only focus on the business, the margin, the marketing, return, margin, the model. Before you begin to convince yourself you’re a genius, first think about how it affect your customer. 

Cast out a focus group through a sample size of different people. This could be Facebook friends, individuals you’ve done business with before, and even close friends and family. The point is…you don’t want anyone doing you any favors, so this test is critical.

Reverse Engineer

Reverse engineering the entire model is an excellent place to start. Start with how you want your clients and customers to feel, what pressure points your product or service will solve, and most importantly the experience you want to provide them. 

Dig deep into your memory and think about times you’ve said “oh, that’s a nice touch.” Whether it was a small ribbon that wrapped a gift box, the way you were greeted at a concierge desk, or when the hotel left an origami duck made out of a washcloth on your bed to surprise you upon walking in. 

All of these touches add up to the experience. It’s going to be your job to make these touches feel deliberate.

After Care

Once that process is done, start all over again on how you want your clients to feel after the transaction. A month after, three months after, a year after. This will keep your name at the forefront of your clients mind and increase conversation and emotional connection with your business. 

Taking care of your clients after a transaction is crucial. Most business owners will think “I gave them the best price and our customer service is amazing. They will for sure return for repeat business”.

Realistically speaking, your business has competitors lining up at the click of an internet search making your name get lost in the noise. So go beyond and make your clients & customers feel like they’ve never left your store, your site, or shop.

This could not only place your business above your competition, but it can place you in a completely different building, a different league, or even a different sport. Remember when they say McDonalds isn’t a hamburger business.

Finding a solution to make your clients day after a sale is not a difficult task, a simple phone call to see how the client or customer is enjoying your product is a start. After this conversation is had, move the conversation away from the product or service, because then it feels like a follow up for an up-sell. Would you as a consumer want to receive phone calls that feel like sleight of hand sales tactics? Absolutely not.

If you’re the type of business owner that sends your clients gifts, do your best and make the gifts about the client. Do not use this opportunity to make their day by making the gift about you and slapping your company logo on the gift. No one is going to wear your company hat or use your branded koozie at a barbecue. Again, take the business owner hat off and think when was the last time you wore a hat that sported someone elses logo?

Take this as a reminder that you got into business to serve people and not your own “genius” idea. 

Don’t get lost in the metrics. Use them as tools and not the method.


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