Remember when you were a kid and pretending to be someone else was just a fun game? You can use the same idea in your small business to get to know your customer, up close and personal.
Knowing your customer is critical to the success of your business. You cannot create effective products, marketing copy and materials, processes, or ideas that will delight your customer if you don’t understand her life, her worries, her skills, her dreams, and her goals.
Some years ago I read an article about a company that served aging customers. To give their employees the opportunity to get into the customer’s head, they had them spend time wearing gloves and special glasses that impaired their vision.
I thought of this recently at the grocery store, as three young employees stood around chatting while an older woman in front of me struggled to put her overloaded plastic sacks into her cart. I stepped ahead and loaded the woman’s cart for her.
If grocery stores were to give their employees the opportunity to spend a few hours working with glasses that impaired their vision, gloves that make their fingers fumble, and arm weights that make them difficult to lift, might they be more likely to help an older woman struggling in the future? I would be happy if they even learned the difference between weight and volume when they are loading a grocery bag to the splitting point!
Pretending to be your customer doesn’t have to be a physical experience. It’s even more fun to play Let’s Pretend mentally.
Spend the day pretending to be someone else, to not know what you know, to try out someone else’s dreams and worries. Look at your products with a stranger’s eyes. What ideas for your small business come to mind? What questions do you have? What tasks could you easily accomplish as yourself but might puzzle your customers?
In your small business, the idea of playing Let’s Pretend could seem like a waste of time. But you may be surprised if you immerse yourself in the game.
By going about your day as your customer, you will not just improve your current products, your marketing copy, or your web site; you may also generate profitable new small business ideas that will delight your real customers.