Common mistakes can kill your small business, but most of them can be easily corrected or avoided.
Today’s Bad Example: Missing your customers’ perspective
This postcard mailed to my liquor store is a symptom of missing your customers’ perspective. What if I was convinced to order the book? How do I do it? Look at the very bottom line of tiny print. That’s the ordering info. It is, in fact, so bad, that at the last minute, they decided to add a stick-on label to the back with the phone number. Sad. Marketing materials, of all things, must incorporate the customers’ needs.
Everyday, I’m sure you see other examples of business people failing to take their customers’ view, making their own lives easier while they make the customers’ lives harder.
The bigger the company, the more this becomes an epidemic, but smaller companies and solo entrepreneurs can be just as guilty.
Update: Zane Safrit explains why this happens in small companies.
“Wearing too many hats, the owners and members of a small company get blinded. All hat and no cowboy becomes All hats and no customer.”
Walk into your business with new eyes. Ask a friend or adviser to take a hard look from a customer’s view point. Think about your customers. Obsess about providing what they need. Review every piece of printed materials while pretending you are a customer.
Or to put it like Zane did, “take off all your hats but that of customer-champion and see how that fits.”
Together, we are going to try to help each other out of these most common, deadly mistakes. You can use real world examples, real small businesses. Write it up, take a picture, or shoot a short video. Take care not to embarrass the offenders! Key point: include suggestions on how to do it right!
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.