Want to lead a successful business? The first lesson you are taught is to believe and follow that customer is your everything. In a land of 33 million Gods, one who blesses a business the most is the customer. Customer-centricity is a holy word in this unholy business world. Yet what is it that business, an early stage one, can do to bring this one crucial element everyone talks about, at the forefront of their business?
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” is a quote widely attributed to Henry Ford, an innovator. He must’ve said this at the beginning stage of his business. As an early-stage entrepreneur, you are an innovator, doing something new.
Customer-centricity models are centred around ‘take feedback from the customer’, or ‘listen to your customer’. To modify your offerings based on the feedback might not necessarily be the most prudent approach to building your business in its initial days.
Building a culture of customer-centricity in your organization can still be done from the start. This helps set the foundation of thinking and an approach which, when your business scales and company grows becomes an integral part of your organization’s functioning.
Your old set of employees thus cultivate an operation standard that new joiners pick-up. In later stages of your business, the culture can change to define how your offerings, be it products or services, grow to suit more of customer needs.
This can be done better not by ‘listening to customer’, but by ‘speaking to your customer’.
So, where do you begin?
The simplest way to begin would be to relook at, and revise all your messaging elements to sound like they speak to, and about the customer, your primary audience.
In simple words, your product positioning should tell your customer how your product/service helps or enables them. It should not tell the customer a description of the product.
Example: Product/business-centred positioning: Facebook is a social network. Customer-centred positioning: Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. That is how Facebook positions its business.
Business Pitch To Investors
Pitch to investors should be clear and crisp about what the investors are interested in knowing – Problem your business solves, Solution, Market Size, Market Validation, Business Model, Competitive Advantage, Who’s behind it (team). Anything outside this, unless asked for, would be an unnecessary element to achieve the objective your potential investors can help you with.
If you are a product/service, the primary pages of your website should be about – What is the product/service, Benefits of using your product/service, how does it work, How can the customer access (buy from where, pricing etc.). This provides a clear picture of your product/service and ends with a call-to-action on how it can be accessed.
Social Media Messaging
Social media messaging works best with simple messaging that relates the role your product/service plays in the user’s (audience’s) life. The best way to go about this is to identify your potential customers and your product/service’s use cases. Then draft your messaging around these.
Newsletter Content Strategy
If you are into email marketing, and newsletters are shared with the email database of site visitors, or business interest individuals, let your newsletter strategy be about providing content that is of importance to your audience. It can be content relevant to your line of business, about use cases that your product/service serves, case studies of benefits from your product/service area.
The only thing to avoid is to not let the newsletter be only about your product/service unless there is a feature launch.
Promotional Content Strategy
There are 2 broad ways to go about promotions.
- Introduce your product/service
- Introduce an offer on your product/service.
Whatever your objective, let the messaging be ‘utility-focused’ and not ‘low-price advantage’. This applies even in cases where you are promoting an offer. Utility in short means how the product/service changes something for or benefits the user. Utility trumps pricing because of the value projected by quality.
As an early-stage business, you are working on a product that is solving an identified problem. The biggest challenge at this stage is hence influencing your customers and getting them to buy/try your product/service; thereby acquiring customers. A simple tweak in thinking as suggested above will help you significantly improve your results on this front.