The smallest things in business may be the most important, you just know it yet. In our time meeting hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders, we’ve come to realise a few simple truths.

There are people who are born to be business leaders and many who never reach that stage no matter how hard they try. The one things the business leaders have in common is their devotion, no, obsession they have with knowing what their clients really want.

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So, we thought why not out together three simple, but effective ways to identify what your customers really want when you’re starting to build your business.

Be that creepy online stalker you don’t like

man and woman holding smartphones

Before meeting a potential client, interviewee or even new staff, we spend way too much time looking them up online and scouring social media platforms to get a sense of what they’re really like.

Online stalking is a crucial tool to understand what people really want, even before they really know it themselves.

Go old school if you have to and scour the forums to find out what people are complaining about. Selling software solutions? Great go to the top tech forums and see what people are complaining about or raving about. Look for popular threads or upvoted answers to get a better sense of the scale of the issue.

This will help you with a couple of things:

  • You now know what people believe is missing in a given process, industry or service
  • You also know where your potential customers hang out and you can engage them

Ask people for their problems

If being creepy isn’t your style, then we suggest asking people for their problems, but phrasing it such that you get the answers you need.

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Just simply asking people to share what they’d like to fix in their business or daily lives doesn’t quite work out, especially when everyone suggests completely different things. A rule of thumb is to phrase the question like this:

What problem would make you pay [insert value here] to get it fixed?

This should hopefully give you a sense of a real problem that people would pay a good amount of money to solve rather than a mere irritant that would not drive people to part ways with their budgets.

A thing to note is that, to make this really work, you need to know enough people in your target demographic to make the results really useful to you.

Make your customers work for you

If you’ve ever been asked to do a survey, you know how much you hate it. However, if you’re asked to be part of a focus group or advisory group, it doesn’t quite have the same irritating feeling.

woman putting a stick note on the wall

Being able to get on-the-ground feedback from real people who are real potential customers is crucial. Bringing them onboard and engaging them as a proper focus group is much more effective and can help you build a product or service that solves their needs faster.

There is potential for your focus group to become your first customers as well, but be warned, there is a significant investment of time and effort to find the right people and build the relationship with them. However, if you’re committed this can help you grow and innovate as well.