October 31, 2014

The Truth Will Make You Sick, Then Set You Free

Have you ever reached that place in your business where you feel like you’re doing everything you know how to do, and still you’re in the same spot? A better question may be, “How many times have you reached that place?”  And what did you do about it?

business freedom

Did you stay there with that sad little, funky attitude?  Did you quit?  Or did you do something smart?

I hope you share your solutions below so we can learn from each other. But in the meantime, here’s one smart thing to consider.

Get to the truth: It’s a firm push in the right direction

You need to know the truth about what you’re doing. You need feedback, so that you can figure out why you’re stuck and why your clients and visitors are stuck. I say your clients and visitors are stuck if they are not buying–or not buying as much as you need them to buy.

They could be stuck on your sales process. It drives them away instead of drawing them in.  They could be stuck on your product, not understanding exactly what it does.  They could be stuck on your website. Since the Internet is like the Yellow Pages these days, does your website foster the right experience? Does it make them want to know more or get away from it (you)?

No matter how painful the answer, get to the truth. You need to know what’s not working so you can do something about it.  You need to know what is working so that you can do more of it.

The truth is a firm push: exactly what any serious person in business needs. But it may not feel good at first.

The truth will make you sick, then set you free

When I worked in an office, it was easy to watch our customers and get instant feedback from their responses to the environment we set. Plus I could see firsthand how the team addressed and took care of each visitor. I could fix issues on the spot.

But online, how do you get that same immediate feedback?

Recently, I used UserTesting.com to evaluate my website. I wanted to see how a typical user moves through the site—what they see, what they do and how they feel.  Through audio and video, UserTesting gave me that “being in the building” feeling.  And man, did I see and hear a lot, including:

  • users’ first steps on the site,
  • the places that confused them, and
  • the things that made sense.

Plus I heard everything they had to say, the disappointing truth and the praise. It made me giddy and sick at the same time.

My personal lesson: We can’t be perfect without feedback. And feedback still won’t make us perfect, but it can make us better.

Feedback lets you know what to fix–if you can deal with the criticism

We tend to shy away from criticism, but how can you improve without knowing what works and what doesn’t?

Constructive criticism lets you know what to fix. And without this feedback, running your business is like riding a stationary bike in a room with no windows—you pedal and pedal, but the scenery never changes. And that’s not good for business.

There are three things  I liked about UserTesting.com:

  1. The firsthand experience. I was able to watch the videos for myself and hear the inflection in users’ voices (not somebody’s summary).
  2. The speedy response. I signed up for three reviews, submitted my instructions of what I wanted my visitors to do on the site, and logged out. Within the hour, the three video responses showed up in my email.
  3. The chance to ask more questions. I was offered the opportunity for additional feedback from the reviewers. I declined because I discovered what I needed to know in their videos. But it was nice to know that I could go deeper if  needed.

So, when I get stuck, I get feedback. It usually shakes things up and gets me moving in the right direction again. What do you do when you get stuck?


Image from FWStupidio/Shutterstock

4 Comments ▼

Jamillah Warner


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

4 Reactions

  1. Jamillah: Great tip on UserTesting.com. I have to test it on some on my sites in the future. I ask for constructive criticism and feedback on a regular basis, and I sit down and do introspection, pondering about my business and things in general.

  2. Very interesting application. I don’t get it, though, maybe I misunderstand. It looks also a little bit too dear for everyone to use it, otherwise I can’t deny what Ms. Jamillah Warner says about it, :)

  3. Jamillah,I must say you’ve awaken the giant within me with your awesome article. And thanks for the tip on UserTesting.com…gotta check it out myself.

  4. I would love to know your responses after trying that feedback tool…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



Compare your business to the industry - Try our new tool