Time for reality check: Put yourself in the shoes of the consumers

Lots of entrepreneurs, especially the solopreneurs who think their businesses are an extension of their passion or dreams, lack a sense of reality. Because they tend to be so deeply absorbed in their so-called passion, they cannot look at their business from the eyes of the potential customers.

This is why it is important to have expert opinions.

You cannot build a business on a fantasy.

You have a business only because you have customers or clients.

And, for the most part, they are not interested in hearing about your life story or your impassioned speech about your visions. Customers aren’t looking at your business because of your fantasy–in fact, most of them cannot read your mind or understand you, and frankly, they don’t give a rat’s ass about what you think.

Customers are there to get the best deal for the least money and efforts they are willing to spend.

They are not assholes for being that way, they are just smart consumers. It’s normal for them to look out for their own interests.

Like you and me.

You don’t shop at Walmart because Mr. Sam Walton’s passion was this or that. You shop at Walmart because of one thing and one thing only: low price. Despite Sam Walton’s personal cult within the Walmart company and its culture, the Walmart brand is simply about everyday low price.

And sometimes you can be an asshole to a cashier or a greeter at a Walmart, too.

You, as a consumer, are only there for the best deal.

But you like Walmart. You’re loyal to the Walmart brand. When you think of wanting something–electronics, new clothes, tools, gardening goods–the name of Walmart comes first to your mind, not Kmart or Target or Fred Meyer. That’s brand loyalty. You believe in Walmart’s brand, and maybe tell your neighbors and friends to shop at Walmart, too.

[You can substitute “Walmart” with any other company’s brand.]

You create a brand, but the brand ultimately belongs to your customers.

Unless you cannot think like your customers and put yourself in their shoes, you will not succeed in business.

  • What makes them click?
  • How can you improve the user experience?
  • What is in it for them? (That famous WIIFM!)
  • How can you deliver the best value for the customers?

These are the important questions.

Customers don’t notice your passion. Customers, however, notice and appreciate the quality of service and goods they get.

There will be all kinds of people, with a vastly different set of beliefs, values, cultural backgrounds, and lived experiences. In most cases, you don’t get to pick and choose customers.