I spend a lot of my time talking to people about how they run their businesses. It’s a big part of what I do to earn a living. One of the conversations we’ve been having a lot recently is about how people create new products & services or improve existing ones.
What I’m learning is that most SME’s don’t have a process for creating new products & services. It’s just not something they do – most are so busy running the business that they don’t have time to think about how they could improve things. Not only are they not innovating, they’re also not taking the pulse of their customers. That’s a big mistake.
Listening to your customers is one of THE most important things you can do as a business. They don’t see things the same way that you do and they may just hold the key to your future success. If you can understand their needs and problems, the things that don’t work for them at the moment as well as the things they’d like you to improve, then you’ll unlock a pandoras box of opportunities.
Assuming that everything’s fine is the biggest mistake you can make. That’s what Kodak did and they completely missed the smartphone, which ended up killing them.
Everyone in your business should be talking to customers, and then come back and share what they’ve learned. Not only is that an interesting thing to do, it’s also empowering – people feel valued as they’re now helping to design the future of the business.
Try it. See what happens. I guarantee you’ll learn stuff that could make your business better.
p.s. This doesn’t just apply to ‘business’. This approach works well anywhere – a school, hospital or museum will find this just as valuable.