Customers are often the scariest aspect of a company. Though they are the only reason the company exists, unlike many of the functions and processes within a company, they are a variable that cannot be controlled. You can improve your company performance by changing suppliers, recruiting new staff, improving internal processes and procedures, but you cannot create customers or make them do what you want them to do.
Large companies with huge momentum behind them often struggle to change direction when their customer base does so.
Companies that have been around for a long time struggle to overcome their own belief that they know what the customer wants because they knew what it was years ago.
Even early stage companies and start-ups often fail at this first post because they are so caught up in the delusion that their invention or unique offering will of course be a massive success as they believe it and make their friends and colleagues believe it to. This affliction is often worst with science and engineering startups – where a founder invents something that requires time and effort to take it from a concept to a product. So they raise money, they grow the team, they spend years and huge sums of money making their glorious first product, but only when they recruit the business development and sales teams shortly before launch do they have significant interaction with the customer, who more often than not is not as interested in the product as the founders believe they should be.
You can do what ever you want as a hobby. Follow that lifelong dream to create a gadget that will turn on your central heating when you blink your eyes twice is fine, if it makes you happy. However when it comes to business, what the customer wants has to always come first. And the only way to find out what the customer wants is to ask them, or if you really want your company to be successful, you must go even further and understand your customer. Even then the interaction does not end, but through a process of lean-innovation and creation of minimum viable products (MVP’s) the product/service continues to be refined through customer feedback so that on launch there is a ready market and no nasty surprises to the sales curve.
Whether you are a start-up or a $B multinational company, bringing Tinnoco in to do either an assessment of your current customer base and customer acquisition strategy, or helping to take initial step to identify the very first customer is a step towards ensuring future success.
Tinnoco offers specialist contractors to come in and do the work for you, coaches to show you how to do it on a one-to-one basis, or training courses to educate the entire sales force in how to listen rather than pitch in customer meetings. Email us to get the ball rolling.