I was privileged to be part of a conversation with local business leaders this week. One of the attendees asked, “How do you anticipate something like COVID so that your business survives beyond the crisis?”
My very first instinct was BCP (business continuity planning) should go a long way. Most businesses don’t have it in place, but thinking through the process will help with the anticipation thinking.
Then Kodak came up in conversation, and you see Kodak thought they were in the film making business when they were in the memory-making business. So what went wrong? In my opinion, Kodak didn’t understand their customers, what their needs, expectations and goals were. The problem they were solving was capturing the memories, not printing films.
So what does this mean for business owners?
- Understand your customer, be crystal clear about who you are serving
- What are their needs?
- What are their expectations- remember you do not just create these
- What goal are they trying to achieve?
- Design your solution around the goals, needs and expectations of your customers, think about the assumptions you are making about your customers, their needs, expectations and goals.
- Validate your hypotheses with your customers
- Create quick solutions which you test and refine
Remember that needs are continually changing, so understanding your customer is an ongoing exercise, not a once-off event.
If we know our customers and keep an eye on them, care about them, understand how we deliver for them, then we will be able to create solutions that set us apart from those who don’t understand the role they play in their customers’ lives.
You could argue that we should have anticipated Covid-19, every hundred years or so the world has faced pandemics of some sort, if this is true then I think if we fully understand our customers and the role we play, then we can weather the storm.
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