By Mark T Burke
Raise your hand if you understand…no….BELIEVE….that for entrepreneurial success, you have to serve the customer first, the customer is always right…the customer is KING. Go ahead…raise your hand if that’s a truth for you.
There…you’ve had a chance to admit that you believe something. You’ve faced an audience of millions and exuberantly raised your hand to show your understanding and your frame of mind. You’ve committed to being like-minded with so many of your peers.
At this point, you may be thinking you’ve mastered the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Let’s explore that mindset. Yesterday, I watched a Livestream recording of a 1 Million Cups event in Kansas. The presentation was provided by the leader of a new, but very successful fitness equipment organization. At one point, he was asked about the build quality and reliability of a new piece of equipment the company had launched. The presenter said, “It’s not a huge problem because the majority of the buyers will rarely use the device.” The point he was making was that only a small percentage of the buyers will use the device hard enough to expose the weak points. So, their support channels are ready to support that small percentage. BUT…is that the right take-a-way?
So, tons of customers bought a product thinking they knew what they wanted. In reality, few of them will actually use the device. So…was the customer RIGHT? Did they ask for the right device. Did they say “if you could just build a device that did X, you could sell millions.” Of course they did. And, they were 100% WRONG!
This is why I teach the distinction between inventing things to please an audience and being a true entrepreneur. I want to go to bed at night knowing that I’ve helped people change their lives. And, I believe my fellow entrepreneurs think the same. That is the Entrepreneurial Mindset.
Don’t think I see customers as always on the outside. Successful businesses need customers. We all benefit when we gather ideas from our customers, when we LISTEN deeply to our customers. But when we parrot back what they are telling us under the guise of a solution, we are doing little to build a truly innovative, high impact offering. One of the toughest jobs I experience as a coach and advisor is helping others think through informing their customers of what they DON’T know.
An Entrepreneurial Mindset freely informs customers of possibilities they have never explored. It fills the gaps for customers, teaches them, guides them toward solutions that will benefit them to a greater degree than what they have been asking for.
If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, think back to your most recent presentation or conversation with a potential client. Did your words leave them wanting to know more? Did they ask you questions, or did they just stare at you? Was your interaction and invitation to talk again, or a closing statement? If you did little more than simply reply to their needs and their “demands” then, most likely, you’ve taken their view and did little to provide a REAL solution.
As entrepreneurs, building on our abilities to listen to customers but create true change means we’re committed to an entrepreneurial Mindset. Please let me know how you keep your Entrepreneurial Mindset alive.