In this day of uber connectivity, it is demanded of you to understand your customers. It is so important, that I list it as my second core value of operating a business. If you have a product or service on the market that is not selling, that could be because what you are offering does not really address the feelings of your target market.

For instance, I HATE audio ads in my email. I changed hosting companies simply because every time I logged into the server I had to listen to annoying audio ads that were about things like prostate cancer- things that DO NOT apply to me.  But I love Facebook Ads, because most of the ads link me to local small businesses, and new technology that I can explore. Most of their ads are relevant to me.

It is easy for Facebook to see what is important to me. They can draw data from all of my interactions across all of my use of FTP- both in their site, and the sites connected to it. So my likes, shares, posts, and many actions across the web refine what Facebook shows me.

As business owners, it is not likely that we have the data that Facebook does. Yet there are still ways that we can learn about the feelings, needs and desires of our target market. I started my consulting business because I am my target market. I wanted someone to walk me through things that they had already done and save me the stress of doing things inefficiently or just plain wrong. And if you are just like your target market, think about your feelings wants and desires, too.

Go farther than yourself, though! Ask questions of your prospects and clients about their condition. ‘What is frustrating you in your business right now?’ ‘Have you tried any new technology, if so, how has that panned out?’ “What are some things that your business needs that are holding you back?’ Ask questions, and much of the time people will tell you all about it. I doubt the accuracy of pop-up surveys; how about just calling someone on the phone or meeting for lunch and setting a tone of concern? Also, try a video call to far away folks, and really connect emotionally about their needs.

Read through community posts, group posts, forum discussions and other conversations happening right now all over the internet. You will start to see trends. Some trends that I quickly saw yesterday: Jacksonville doesn’t handle traffic well, the sports team lost, and there are not enough local trade shows.

Well I can lobby to the city about revisions in traffic flow, and add to the pressure to repair our bridges. I can continue to support the Jaguars, and by adding to their revenues, maybe they can buy some better players. And I can host local trade shows, where local vendors can reach their target audience in an atmosphere that is curated toward impressiveness and sales; and I can got to work on all these needs of my community right now.

That is the important thing. When you learn of a need that you can fulfill, do it as soon as possible, in the best way that you can find how. Capitalize on your ability to problem solve before someone takes that opportunity for themselves.

I will leave you with these quotes:

If you are committed to creating value and if you aren’t afraid of hard times; obstacles become utterly unimportant. A nuisance perhaps; but with no real power. The world respects creation; people will get out of your way.” -Candice Carpenter

“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” -Henry Ford