Whose Way: Yours or Theirs

Sometimes as small business owners, the desire to do it your way can drown out your customers’ voices. Even though many of us went into business to spread our wings, to live out that phrase made famous by Frank Sinatra, “I did it my way,” and to make a ton of money at the same time.  Bottom line — your customers get a vote.

this versus that

You Can’t Sell What People Aren’t Buying 

Even if you create something that has never been seen before, it has to meet a need or the money just won’t follow. In fact, your product or service has to meet a desire that your clients are willing to pay for. The only way to know for sure is to watch their spending and behavior.

If you’re launching something new, then pay attention to spending on products or services similar or closely related to the product or service that you plan to sell.

Get Back To Some Hands On Research 

Get in front of your people again. Interact with them, watch their spending, become like them and see what you learn. Yes, you want to collect the statistics.

For example, you want to know how much money is made on Mondays verses Saturdays so that you know which days to close or how to target your marketing to get people through the door on those days.

But you also want to know what it feels like to be your client. One way to do that is to walk in their shoes. Shop in your own store. Use your own services. If you feel like you know too much to be objective, then send a mystery shopper in.

The goal is to shift your perspective from the boss in the building to the visitor. When you’re a part of the audience you’ll discover some things.

Is Your Language Clear And Easy To Understand?

I just received a two page promotion from a company. After reading every word, including the colorful insert, I can honestly say that I have no idea who they are and what they have.  But I did read a lot of:

  • “Get to know us.”


  • “Discover the benefits.”

As well as

  • “Become a member.”

Reviewing your marketing materials from the perspective of your audience makes it easier to find the gaps between what you know and what your potential new customers need to know.

Here’s an example of getting it right. SlideDeck tells you at the top of their Web page that they’re “for WordPress.” And if you find them through the search engines (Google, Yahoo) you see in the title of the page that SlideDeck is a “Wordpress Slider & Gallery Plugin.” So if you’re not using WordPress as your content management system, then SlideDeck isn’t for you.

Is Your Product As Smart As It Could Be?

It’s about being effective and progressive. The more you use your own stuff, the more you’ll discover the weaknesses. And innovation is driven by problem solving. But you can’t solve the problems that you don’t see.

At the days end, your potential clients are looking for answers. Being a savvy small business owner is about making it our job in our respective industries to find those answers, discover their new questions and  offer the best solutions we know how to answer — over and over again.

Questions Photo via Shutterstock


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.

3 Reactions
  1. Very inspiring piece I must say……… I love the part where you said people cannot solve problems they cannot see. Before you can actually convince people you should be able to convince yourself.

  2. Great post Jamillah. I agree that your customers input should be the most important thing that you look at when making major business decisions. On my internet marketing blog, I make it a point to always engage my subscribers and ask them questions to get their feedback. I want to make sure that the content that I put out is information that they will find helpful and provide them with actionable concrete steps that they can implement right away.

    Thanks for writing and sharing this post, I appreciate it!


  3. I think the main problem is that most product sellers are so blinded by the beauty of their products or services that they fail to take a look at their customers. When really, they can sell a lot more if they just listened. Also, another rules is to stay away from cliches. These things can really kill a business.