Most new business owners tend to be great advocates for their product or service as they prepare for their business launch.
They become cheerleaders and proselyters for their product’s features, benefits, and usefulness.
They want to shout to the whole world that their “baby” is being born and it’s the greatest improvement to ______ of the century!
Do you know what I’m talking about?
Have you ever felt this way?
I think new business owners are better served at the outset by playing the role of buyer or consumer of that product. Here’s why . . .
Buyers do research, they are information and feature hungry, and they are discriminating.
The new business owner that can take this “scientific” or objective view of her own product will learn an awful lot about how it stacks up against competitor’s offerings.
Buyers are concerned about price and will shop, sometimes way too much, to save a few dollars.
Do you think such price comparison shopping would give you any clues about the best price point for your new offering?
Buyers compare guarantees, return policies, shipping and handling rates, and other company policies.
Would it be helpful to know such information about your competitors businesses before you set your own policies?
Buyers love other customer testimonials.
They trust the word of a non-company opinion much more than they do a “biased” product ad.
As you shop for competing products, the testimonials of competitors (in ads, in product descriptions, on web sites, etc) can give you a good idea about the reasons for current customer satisfaction with your competitor’s product.
Do they like the competitor’s fast shipping? His range of sizes, brands, or assortment of colors?
His no-hassle, no questions asked return policy? His low prices? His buy three, get one free offer?
Make note of all these benefits.
Buyers have a different mind-set than sellers. Buyers see the world of product selection from the “outside” – from the point of view of one who doesn’t want to be surprised, disappointed, or ripped off by his purchase.
Sellers (often) see the product world from the “inside” – they know everything about the product, they know their product is the smart choice, they know what it does for them, and sometimes assume that every buyer of the product ought to feel the same way they do about it.
Remember, there is a certain amount of danger and risk to any business run by an owner who assumes she understands exactly what her customers want and how they will accept her products, policies, and services.
Markets are fickle, ever-changing, in constant motion, and often difficult to figure out.
The customers in those markets are part of that equation . . . their needs, tastes, desires, and especially wants are always subject to change at a moment’s notice.
A small business owner can’t afford to assume anything about her product’s usefulness and appeal, her market, or her customers wants. She must constantly survey, test, and refine everything about her approach to selling in order to stay on top of all the market changes.
To your online business success,