People Who Think Like We Do
Starting an online business doesn’t seem that complicated. People do it every day. Some even start by doing what we love — building a product or service that captures their imagination and best skills — because doing what we love makes good business sense. Then they figure out who’s like to buy it.
That’s often where folks make their mistake. They don’t know who their ideal client or customer is. As a product developer, I leanred that building products and services takes a lot of knowing how customers think.
If you don’t already have a customer base that you know intimately and well, or you’re new at making product, it’s likely that the first customers you attract will be folks who look a lot like you. Why is that?
Ever notice a pattern in the people you think of as engaging, entertaining, or just plain smart? Ever notice a corollary pattern in the people you think as … not?
We think people who think like us are smart and people who don’t are being difficult or unable to keep up.
Of course, we allow for migitating circumstances. She’s only 5 years old. He’s having a bad day. He’s not good at math. It’s semantics that threw us off. But if it happens again and again, that person who doesn’t process thoughts the same as we do, must be disagreeable or not too swift — no pleasure to spend time with. Who can blame anyone for that? It seems guaranteed that he or she isn’t having a great time with us.
Sometimes if we listen closely as we talk, we find that the “difficult, not so smart” folks think more like we do than we first suspected. Sometimes we even form a relationship.
Is it a good thing that our customers look like us? What should we do about that?
How Do You Use that to Grow?
So the customers we attract first will be the customers who think like us. It’s only natural they’ll think what we do is smart. They’ll see the brilliance of our products or services. They’ll work with us to fix our problems and will see enough of themselves to forgive our occasional misteps.
That’s why our first customers look so much like us.
That’s why they love what we do.
And I agree with Steve Farber that’s the best foundation on which to build a business …
Do what you love in service to those who love what you do. —Steve Farber
But suppose you’re a rare and divergent thinker … not that we know anyone like that … how can you find a group of customers large enough to sustain a business like that?
As soon as your customers get to know how you think, make it your driving goal to know everything about each one of them. That’s the beauty of the social web. It lets us do that so much easier than we could in the past. But don’t leave out on the gound networking events.
- Meet them and talk to them one at a time whenever, wherever you can.
- Ask them about them, not about what you’re doing.
- Test and try their ideas, ones resonate with them — especially those that make you a little nervous.
- Give them a stake, a voice, a place in the business.
- Showcase your regulars so that other folks can identify with them.
- Be curious, learn from, and fall in love with the differences in the like minds around you.
What will happen next is that, your thinking will grow and change, and together you and they will attract people who look like you and them. Then show everyone how to do the same thing again. Open ideas, open minds, and open doors are how people find their way in.
Of course none of us are the same. But especially on the social web, we know what it means to say that like minds attract. It’s a fact that can dilute a business or be a strategy.
Have you got customers, readers, clients who look like you? Can you make them a bigger part of your business?