When you think about doing customer research, you probably think about scouring the internet and talking to potential customers, learning about their problems, goals, etc. so you can craft a better offer for them.
Yeah, well… This is pretty obvious, right? If you don’t know your customers REALLY WELL, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll make something they REALLY WANT (result: no sales!).
I’ve worked with Design Thinking and Lean Startup for many years now, mostly because they take you out of your head and into action…. and as a recovering overthinker and perfectionist myself, that’s exactly what I need!
Both methods encourage you to research customer needs with empathy and curiosity, to build cheap and fast prototypes (or, the so-called Minimum Viable Product), test it with real people early and often, iterate and improve… until you find a product-market-fit (meaning: you build something people actually need and are willing to pay for).
This way, you ‘fail’ and learn early and often, before investing too much time, money, energy and other resources into building something nobody wants.
While these methods are relatively straightforward, well known and highly effective, I could never understand why so many entrepreneurs don’t use them in their biz, even if they know all about them!
It all became clear when I finally decided to start my own entrepreneurial journey.
Turned out that when you start your own business, there’s often so much fear (of everything!), limiting beliefs and confusion, that many people freeze and want to hide!
The number one reason entrepreneurs get stuck and frozen in their business is THEMSELVES.
And I’m not saying it lightly. This is not my judgement. They say so themselves!
Heck, I’ve been there myself SOOOO many times, overthinking every single step, terrified of making a mistake, of being judged, full of fear and self-doubt… I get it!
Every time I talk to someone who’s stuck in their biz, the problem (almost always) is in their mindset, limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, fears and WRONG assumptions about reality.
Result: they feel like crap, get confused, discouraged and don’t take action with confidence.
Success means working hard and non-stop, if it gets too much, I won’t be able to handle it and I’ll be trapped.
There’s not enough (money, time, resources etc.)
Nobody needs / wants my help / will pay me so much for that
I’m just not… (good enough, confident enough, good at sales, marketing, talking to people, writing, public speaking etc.)
I’m just too… (confused, distracted, shy, straightforward, introverted, young, old etc.)
And many, many more beliefs running wild… without the oh-so-needed reality check!
The problem is you’re focused on your internal drama instead of on actually HELPING someone and making a difference in the world.
Let me break it down.
Your limiting beliefs (e.g. “I’m not good enough”) will result in a waterfall of negative (usually highly convincing!) thoughts (e.g. “I’ll never make it work, it’s too hard, nobody will buy from me”)…
Which, in turn, will make you feel like crap (sad, helpless and depressed)…
Which will effectively stop you from taking any positive action in your business (“there’s no point if it won’t work anyway…”)
The problem is that your beliefs are not really that obvious, and if I asked you if you feel good enough, most likely you would say ‘of course!’.
You can find what your true beliefs are by reverse engineering your actions, feelings and thoughts… basically observing your reality and results, tracking all of it back to your deep, subconscious beliefs.
If you’ve got one of these destructive beliefs, your anxious thoughts might get so loud, that you’re unable to focus on why your business is important for you in the first place. Why you even do what you do.
While working on your beliefs with a skilled professional is crucial, talking to your customers will give you momentum and get you unstuck in your biz fast!
Talking to your customers helps you redirect your attention from your inner drama into people that need you… and get into inspired ACTION 🙂
It makes you realise there are people out there who suffer, have a painful problem, and the importance of your impostor syndrome and fears are fading away in comparison…
Your mind starts to think about solutions to their problems, instead of worrying and obsessing about all the reasons why it won’t work.
So if you ever get stuck and feel like nothing is moving in your biz…
It’s time to “get out of the building” (as Steve Blank says in his Customer Development methodology) and talk to your customers!
If you need some extra help to get started, get my Free Customer Clarity Guide here to get started with your customer research… and finally, get moving with your business!
About the author: My name is Aga and I’m a Business Coach for Female Entrepreneurs. I help women get clear on their niche & offer and design profitable, purpose-led biz with confidence 💃
What holds you back from getting customer clarity in your business?
Let me know in the comments or get in touch!