Tag - success

understanding customers

Understanding Customers: 5 Keys To Creating Customer Experience

The formula for knowing what customers want is understanding customers.

Understanding customers enables you to anticipate their needs and expectations thereby providing excellent customer experience.

Have you ever wondered why a customer that patronized you once or twice disappeared into thin air? Simple! They felt misunderstood. They did not connect with you in the few times they dealt with you.

Understanding customers is what turns them from a prospect to a buying customer and finally to a repeat customer.

As an entrepreneur it is essential you understand your customers so as to build long lasting relationships. Your success basically depends on how much you understand and know your customer.

To better understand your customers it is ideal to do a needs vs value segmentation. Identify your customer’s needs, determine the needs you have met, needs you could not meet, why you could not meet the needs and what value you have been able to add to your customers. Group them into met and unmet needs thereby allowing you to ask questions like why you did or could not meet their needs.

As an entrepreneur you should acknowledge that the lifeline of your business is the customer so it pays to invest in understanding your clients; not just for the financial gain but for the customer’s satisfaction.

Understanding customers entails the 5 W’s. The Who, What, Where, When and How.

  • WHO

Who is important? You need to determine who you are in business for; it is imperative you know that you are in business for your customers. When you comprehend this singular fact it will drive you to ask questions as regards who patronizes your business. Questions like their names, location, what they do for a living, who their customers are, their likes and dislikes etc. These answers will unravel who your customers are.

Understanding Cuctomers

  • WHAT

What are their choices? What would they prefer you gave them? What are their problems? What solutions do they need you to provide? Would they prefer quality to quantity, do they want your product as it is or do they want an improved version or would they prefer subscription (prepaid) to pay as you go service?

As a fish farmer that packages and sells smoked fish I had a firsthand experience of this. Initially I reared the fish to get so big in size which meant I packaged four pieces in a bag. Overtime I asked what they would prefer. Sales increased when I packaged smaller sizes of six to eight in a bag. I felt quality was selling bigger fishes but the customers preferred smaller sizes. Moral is find out what your customers actually want; do not assume like I did.

Realizing this would help you understand how to better meet your customers at the point they are. If there are substantial amount of people in each group you can package your products to meet the demands of each group thereby leaving you with happy customers.


Where do your customers buy from? Have in mind that the answer to this question would help you deduce who your competitors are. Which makes this a win-win situation for you and your customer. Knowing your competitors would help you understand why your customers are going to them and what they have that you do not have. If you are able to decipher why they patronize your competitor you can fill in the gap as to what they really want.

  • WHEN

When do they buy? How often do they buy? Is their purchase daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal? Knowing your customer’s frequency of purchase helps you prepare in advance for their next purchase thereby making you proactive. Customers love that.

  • HOW

How do they buy? Do they buy in bulk or in pieces? Do they pay you as soon as they buy or do they need some time before they pay? Are they Loyal customers, Regular customers, Occasional customers or One-off customers? The customers’ buying habits says a lot about what they feel about your product and business.

To better comprehend your customers speak with them; you can also use surveys and questionnaires. You will be amazed at what you will discover. That was how I discovered they would prefer smaller sizes of fish at the same package weight and amount.

You can also have your sales people get testimonials on video if you cannot personally speak to all your customers. This will capture their body language which says a lot.

In all understanding customers means you take into account the Who, What, Where, When and How. Knowing these will help you discern how your customer reasons; believe me this is your gateway to success as an entrepreneur.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view” Harper Lee (American Author)

“There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it” Charles F. Kettering (American inventor)

In summary understanding customers is what guarantees the continuous existence of your business in the harsh waters of business.

If you have employed other strategies in understanding customers kindly share them with our readers in the comment section.

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customers want

7 Things Customers Want From Your Business

Customers want different things and people have various reasons for patronizing the companies they do business with.

The reasons vary from wanting to satisfy a friend to looking for quality at a fair price though reasons like these do not run deep.

There have been instances where customers suddenly leave the company they have been doing business with for years to patronize another company. Certainly they have their reasons for that. Any customer decides to or not to do business with a particular company because there are certain needs the customers want the company to meet.

68% of the time customers that ditch a business do so because their expectations were not met. For business growth find out why your customers left your business, if they say you did not meet their expectations apologize and ask exactly what they expect of your business.

Never be too comfortable with the clients you have instead always strive to improve on your retainability skills.

Customers prefer businesses going above and beyond their expectations so it always makes sense to under promise and over perform.

There are expectations general to all customers and there are personal expectations but to satisfy these needs you need to know them.

“Customer service has never been so important, yet many firms seem to have lost sight of their customers’ needs, argues customer service consultant” Derek Bishop.

One of the things customers want is customer service. It entails how you treat the customer before, during and after sales.

Do you listen to them when they come to you? Do you empathize with them? Do you send a thank you mail? Do you call or mail them on their birthdays and anniversaries? Do you wish them happy holidays? Do you conduct surveys on how you can better serve them? Answering these questions will further endear your clients to you.

Good customer service entails you knowing your customers, what they want and treating them like a VIP (very important personality).

Your clients are expecting your products to meet their needs and add value to their lives one way or the other before they consider spending their hard earned cash on your business.

They also expect you to be skilled at the service you provide. They expect your product to do exactly what you said it can do.

Customers ultimately want gratification and satisfaction. They need to have that feeling of profit after spending on your business.

Great products and services, speed, courtesy, competence, commitment and understanding make up what customers consider as satisfaction for money well spent.

Clients want to know your business is stable, they do not want to be disturbed by the inner workings (policies and procedures) of your company or the economic situations. They just want to know they can count on you to always provide solutions to their problems.

They need to know you know what you are doing. They want to trust you as an individual and they also want to trust what your business stands for.

Customers expect to be appreciated for patronizing you. If you ask me this is non-negotiable because they could have taken their business to a thousand and one places but they chose you.

You should always think of ways to appreciate them for their patronage even if it is not regular. You can consider options like sales, coupons, referral bonuses etc.

Customers want to be heard, they want you to listen and they would like you to consider their opinions on the products and services you render them.

They want to be involved in the process of buying from you or services being rendered to them. They desire extra attention which makes them feel like a part of the family.

They desire to have a personalized relationship with you. They want you to know their names and they will remember you for it.

Customers want results not excuses which is why they came to you in the first place. They do not want to know how hard it was for you to get results rather they want to know you will achieve results.

Your ability to achieve results quicker will propel them to spread the word on your behalf. It will win you loyalty.

Conducting surveys will help you know the specifics of what your customers want. If you already know or have an idea what your customers want do share with us in the comment section.

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Ticking off After You Achieve New Year Resolutions

9 Tips To Help Entrepreneurs Achieve New Year Resolutions

So we have written our New Year resolutions on every surface we can find from our Androids to our Tablets to Laptops and PCs. But the question is will our writing it everywhere alone be enough to help us achieve new year resolutions as entrepreneurs?

Find below the 9 Tips we recommend to help entrepreneurs achieve New Year resolutions.

Over the years we have made resolutions at the start of every year but by the end of the year we are not even half away through our list. We carry them over into the next year thereby making it harder to achieve the resolutions for that New Year.

Listed below are simple things that we could do to spur us on to achieve New Year resolutions.


I define determination as the quality of trying to do something even in the face of difficulty. It simply means making up your mind to do something and seeing it through to a conclusive end. It is an essential quality needed in life to succeed in every endeavor. As entrepreneurs our dosage of this should be more than regular. Due to the fact that we face more challenges and make more decisions than the average Joe.

Determination would help us stay on track to achieve New Year resolutions even when situations surrounding us make it impossible.


This is the ability to concentrate on something till it is done or achieved. It is not just enough to write down your new year resolutions you need to focus on each one till they are all achieved. When you focus on one and get it done then you move on to the next one. It is a little similar to determination but determination could be misplaced if the right thing is not being focused on.


A lot of resolutions are not achieved because they are not realistic. Setting realistic goals would go a long way in helping to achieve New Year resolutions. Imagine how possible it is for a small time entrepreneur to aim at taking on a contract to build roads and he is not qualified to take a loan in the bank. Just how possible is that?

As an entrepreneur know the strengths of your company, ask what next and surpass that next stage not by jumping stages all in the name of being determined.


When you finally decide on where you want your business to be by the end of the year (goal) you break them down into fragments. Like gaining “X” amount of customers, sell “X” amount of goods, service “X” amount of clients, re-target “X” amount of existing customers.

You keep it simple by listing these things. If it is selling “X” amount of goods more than usual; how do you aim to do that? Then list your marketing strategy, affiliate or referral strategy, advert and awareness strategy to increase your band publicity which in turn increases your existing number of clients etc. The traditional “one thing at a time” will take you to your destination faster.


Create a system that works. Even if you or any of your staff are absent the plan would be a guideline for whoever is on ground to run the show. Ensure you have a Standard Operating Procedure document in place. We have all heard the saying if you fail to plan then you plan to fail but it is so true. Making resolutions without a proper plan in place to achieve them is not a good way to get to the finish line a winner.

No proper planning means you would daily swing like a pendulum to whatever hits you but having a plan assures you that if anything happens it is only going to be a temporary distraction. Your plan would swing back into action with determination and focus thereby achieving New Year resolutions.


It is very essential to monitor every teeny weeny bit of the process to be aware of every progress made. Not just for your gratification but for that of your staff too. It serves as a psychological boost to know that progress is being made thereby increasing your morale and that of your staff. It makes them know they are in a good place and their efforts are yielding results.

Slow signs of progress or none at all should not turn you into a nightmare rather keep going with the plan and sooner or later you will have that eureka moment. Ensure all heads of department and supervisors are in the loop. Hold meetings as at when do to ensure everyone is on the same page but not longer than necessary. No point wasting precious time.


To make it through your list of resolutions successfully every progress made either by you or your staff should be rewarded. This gives everyone that “feel good” feeling, builds team work and makes your staff feel like family. It also creates a healthy competition among your staff to do better because everyone would want to enjoy the freebies. It could range from sending them to a spa to them having dinner with their loved ones on your tab. Whatever you do just reward honest achievers.


Asides writing your resolutions everywhere; on your sticky notes, diaries, androids, tablets, blackberries, laptops and PCs talk about it too. Not just with your staff but with family and friends. Also with your Board of Directors. This is to ensure there is someone to hold you accountable over time and to also encourage you. They go each step of the way with you. They know just when you are getting overwhelmed and they can pull you back up.


Most things are not achieved on the first attempt you just have to keep trying and you will achieve your New Year resolutions after you make it a habit to do the things listed in this article. Bad habits take longer to break so give yourself some time but ensure each day you practice one good habit and each month you practice a new good habit. By the end of the year you probably would tick 80-100% of your resolutions as done and delivered.

Do you feel I have left out a helpful tip to achieve New Year resolutions or you have yours that works for you please feel free to drop them as comments.

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New year's resolutions


Have you made your new year’s resolutions? What is your New Year resolution?

Every success pursuing entrepreneur needs these 7 new year’s resolutions.

It is that time of the year when resolutions and plans are made but as a successful entrepreneur the plans and resolutions should have been made in the previous year. The resolutions help to put our goals into perspective thereby making them achievable thus contributing largely to our long term success.


This is an important aspect of your new year’s resolutions due to cash-flow being the business lifeblood.  In the previous year the annual financial reports, tax returns, audits etc. should have been prepared and the necessary meetings held. This is to start the New Year with a picture of where the company is presently at and where it needs to be financially. This is to help know the profit and loss statement of the previous year, if there are debts owed the company and if the company also owes, expenses and if there is a need to apply for loan to carry out some projects. This is to better manage the cash-flow of the business.


It is imperative to revisit your reason for being an entrepreneur so as not to lose focus or get carried away. Either your reason is enjoying what you do, for profit or to provide solution and value to the society. Whatever reason you have to leave the nine to five grind should be revisited as part of your New Year’s resolutions to help keep you on track.


This cannot be over emphasized. We should only stop learning when we are dead. There are so many new things to learn in the business world of today such as new accounting skills, marketing skills, tech skills, leadership and management skills etc. These knowledge can be acquired via reading books, attending seminars, classes or watching videos.


We are at a point whereby businesses would fade off if they refuse to innovate. As an entrepreneur it is crucial for survival to inject new ideas into your business as part of your new year’s resolutions. It could be in form of doing things in new ways such as customer service, dropping products and services that are not performing or develop new products and services. Something that would add to the value your business is already providing your customers.


A lot of entrepreneurs get caught up with the hustling and bustling and neglect their health. Part of an entrepreneur’s new year’s resolutions should be to go for checkup regularly to avoid being caught unawares by one health condition or the other. No need waiting for that moment you land in a hospital to realize that you can only be on ground in your business if you are of good health.


This is the time to restructure the organization. From the past business year appraisals should have been done to know the strengths and weaknesses of individual employee. Reshuffling should be done to ensure people are where their talents are used maximally. Also if there are staff that incur debt for the organization this is the time to address their issue; either they are reassigned to new duties, retrained or their contract terminated.


This is 2016 why would your business not be mobile? The trend for businesses this year would be to go mobile. You could start by getting a creative website; this would enable old and new customers alike to have access to information on your products and services also buy-buttons can be added to your websites or call-to-action buttons that bring about conversion on your website. Do not forget to make your website mobile friendly; a lot of people use their mobile devices to surf the web.

2016 is just some few days old but a lot can be done in a few days. If you feel we have omitted any important new year’s resolutions entrepreneurs need to make their journey successful feel free to drop them in the comments section.

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21 Attributes of Every Successful Entrepreneur

Do you want to be a Successful Entrepreneur?

If your answer is “YES” I salute you.

An entrepreneur is not your everyday business man that just buys and sells rather an entrepreneur is someone that is a risk taker, innovative and determined. He comes up with business ideas as never seen or done and thinks of innovative ideas to refurbish an existing business. Check Wikipedia’s definition of an entrepreneur or as defined by Investopedia.

The end game is not to be an entrepreneur but a successful entrepreneur and for this you must be ready to bear a lot of risks, perform a lot of roles and accept a lot of negative feedback because a lot of people will not encourage you when you pitch your ideas to them. They are not denying you a chance they just need you to grab their attention with what you do.

Therefore to succeed as an entrepreneur there are certain attributes you need to possess and develop. Every aspiring successful entrepreneur should have these in common with the established ones:

  • Passion.

Do what you love most. This point cannot be over emphasized; it is quite important because when push comes to shove it is your passion for what you do that will ensure you hang in there to the very end.

  • The “Can-do Spirit”.

No matter what happens you need to keep saying to yourself “I can do it too” because things will happen to discourage and distract you; dissatisfied customers, no cash flow, low sales, no sales period, resignation of key staff etc. The continuity of your business depends on if you keep moving ahead despite all odds.

  • Innovation (Creative Thinking).

You need to have a constant flow of ideas. Always ask “What next? Why this? What if?” It is the innovation that drives you and eventually makes you a successful entrepreneur.

  • Focus.

No matter what is going on you must be able to focus on achieving results. It is essential to focus on one thing at a time to achieve the best results and save time before moving on to something else.

  • Ability to Delegate.

Delegation is not just about dishing out work and projects to someone else but you need to possess the ability to delegate assignments to the person with the best ability to achieve the best results else you will waste time redoing what the incompetent person did.

  • Risk Taking.

As an entrepreneur you need to take calculated risks, be able to identify when to take risks, when not to, what risks to take and not take. Taking the wrong risks can harm your business like wise taking it at the wrong time. Apply the Best/Worst Case Analysis by Dr. Ben Carson in his book Take the Risk. It entails asking 4 questions before you take any risk.

  1. What is the best that can happen if I take this risk?
  2. What is the worst that can happen if I take this risk?
  3. What is the best that can happen if I do not take this risk?
  4. What is the worst that can happen if I do not take this risk?

Answering these questions will help you decide if or not to take any risk.

  • Confidence.

Your level of confidence in yourself and what you do should be at an all-time high. People see your business through your eyes. If you do not see where your business is going no one will.

  • Goals.

The road-map of any successful entrepreneur. Set goals for yourself and the business, write them down, break them down and focus on achieving them one at a time.

  • Ability to Plan.

This cannot be overemphasized. As an entrepreneur planning everything is of the essence. Plans and Goals work hand in hand. To achieve your goals you need to plan accordingly because if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

  • Never Afraid to Fail.

Failure is what pushes every entrepreneur to succeed. Never give up after you experience any failure because failures are part of the process to succeed. Failure opens your eyes to what will not work which eventually leads you to what will work. Ask Thomas Edison.

  • Add Value.

In any niche you find yourself endeavor not to think of get-rich quick schemes rather think of how to add value; solve problems. This ensures people keep coming back for what you offer.

  • Work Smart and Work Hard.

As an entrepreneur you need smart work (Scheduling and Focus) and hard work (Persistence against all odds).

  • Expertise.

Become an expert in whatever you do and people will seek you out. This generates repeat business for you thereby making you a successful entrepreneur.

  • Invest in Yourself.

As an entrepreneur understand that education is never ending. Keep reading, attending courses, seminars and ask questions. This increases your know-how thereby making you add value.

  • Trust.

Build people’s trust for you and your business by being consistent and maintain a great reputation.

  • Adaptability.

Whether you decide to Pivot or Persevere you must be flexible and be able to adapt to the needed changes for your business to grow.

  • Competitive.

You should have the competitive drive to succeed as an entrepreneur because you will have competition in whatever niche you find yourself. Even if your business is so unique others will join you in that niche to compete with you. At every given time take into account what your competition is doing that makes them tick likewise know their mistakes and failures so you do not repeat same.

  • Time management.

This is a key factor in being a successful entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur you find yourself wearing many hats (performing many roles). You need to have the ability to effectively manage time by doing the most important things first.

  • Discipline.

Successful entrepreneurs are a product of the training they gave their minds. They know where their business is going and they go all out to take it there. A mind that has not been trained to succeed cannot succeed. A disciplined mind does not throw in the towel after a setback neither does it entertain negativity.

  • Determination.

The will to succeed even when discouraged. As an entrepreneur you will face so many challenges beyond your control; unfavorable government policies, economic downturn, competitors that play dirty etc. it is your will to succeed that will keep you going.

  • Giving.

Do not just take, take and take also give. Give your time, money, advice and whatever you can to the community and smaller businesses alike.

If you feel you do not naturally possess most of these attributes do not fret because you can always learn them. Learning only stops when we die.

If there is an important attribute a successful entrepreneur should possess that I left out do feel free to comment. I respond to all comments and learn as well.

Saving A Dying Business

How to Save a Dying Business

We have identified what signs to look out for to know if a business is dying but why wait till the business plunges when we can be observant in the daily operation of the business. Even when you see the signs that you have a dying business on your lap it is still not enough reason to pack up shop rather it is a wake up call to ensure all your efforts and resources does not go to waste.

You can still make that dying business a success. Here are some proven tested ways to turn around a dying business before it hits rock bottom.

  • Identify exactly where the business is presently and what it needs. Does it need a face lift or total overhauling? This is when you decide to either Pivot (it could be to change the direction of the business, your marketing strategy, customer care strategy, your customer base, your products and services or your business model. It entails your team identifying what exactly needs to be changed and what it should be changed to for results) or Persevere (continue as you have been doing knowing fully well you are on the right track). I recommend “Lean Startup” by Eric Ries for better understanding.
  • Re-brand your products and services to re-position your business and overhaul the impressions customers have formed about your business.
  • Focus by narrowing down your products and services. Carve out your niche to help streamline your resources and ensure you get one thing right at a time.
  • Revisit your Customer Care practice. You will be surprised at what something as little as Customer Care can do to your dying business.
  • In this period the 20% of your customers that bring in 80% of your business (check Pareto Principle for that) should not be left in the dark as to what is happening. Be open to them, they just might know who or what your dying business needs for that turnaround.
  • Before you come up with a new Business or Marketing Plan seek and re-evaluate your customer’s view on what needs they expect your business to meet because overtime your customers’ tastes will change and you need to change with it if you still want to remain in business.
  • Cut off the bad debts customers, the ones that do not pay on time and the high maintenance cost customers.
  • Ruthlessly cut down costs and unnecessary expenses the business may have incurred over time. Close down the branches that are not generating income.
  • Set up a team to investigate your marketing strategy; change it if the need arises (most likely you will need to).
  • Read and Research everything you can find on your niche of business.
  • Qualification and Management: Are the people in your management team qualified for the job or did they get it on a man know man basis? If not it is high-time you overhauled them and employ qualified hands.
  • Bring in a tried and trusted Consultant to give you a third party view on what needs to be done. This is essential since they will not attach sentiments and immediately see what is wrong with the business.
  • Get a good legal representative if you do not already have one to advise you on every step you intend to take so as not to incur costs by being sued.
  • Motivate your employees; their morale and self confidence could drastically be affected as soon as they start noticing the decline in business. Motivating them will bring back the can-do spirit they once had. At all cost ensure you keep the high performance managers and employees.
  • Communication is key. Make sure you run an open house especially to key players in your business.
  • Lastly if you have done your best and still could not revive the dying business sell it off to more capable hands and try a new idea with the proceeds you make from the sales. The idea is to never give up as an entrepreneur. The big names you hear today made a lot of failures before they made the successful business you know about.
Business Failure Yardstick
Business Failure Signs

Business Failure Signs

In every clime the first five years make or mar a business. This is the period that determines if the business will succeed or not. Not until few months to the final melt down do entrepreneurs realize the business is going under and start scrambling to save it meanwhile the business failure signs had been there forever.

A business does not just collapse suddenly; there are signs but most entrepreneurs ignore the signs while most do not even recognize these signs. If these signs had been taken into consideration and dealt with early on the chance of survival would have been higher.

What are these business failure signs and how do we know a business is heading towards closure?

It is a general belief that entrepreneurs have it easy; no they don’t. A lot goes into making a business stand the test of time. There are economic, social, financial, technological and psychological factors that affects the continuity of a business. A perfect or almost perfect blend of all these factors increases the survival of a business.

It is of the essence to recognize the most common and visible signs of a failing business before doomsday so as to decide whether to pivot (change the direction of the business) or persevere (stay the course but make necessary changes to enhance the survival of the business). For further understanding of Pivot or Persevere I recommend you read the Lean Startup book by Eric Ries. You can get it here.


  • Poor cash flow management. Cash flow is the life blood of a business; if not properly managed sends the business crashing. There is a big problem when you do not know when and what to spend on or save.
  • When your clients have nothing positive to say about you or your business and cannot even refer you.
  • Your clients constantly get excuses instead of results.
  • When the satisfaction of the entrepreneur(s) comes before the customer’s.
  • Whether a business is non-profit or not one of the entrepreneur’s motivating factor is profit; if at most after a year the business is not making profit or breaking even there is a problem.
  • As an entrepreneur if you do not love what you do; how do you get people to buy into your idea thereby sustaining the business?
  • When a business lacks in innovation and unique ideas it is gradually dying.
  • When your employees have low morale; employees are the internal customers, satisfying them goes a long way in determining how well they satisfy the external customers.
  • A business set up by greedy entrepreneur(s) is headed for the rocks.
  • When an entrepreneur constantly ignores the market trends and his competitors.
  • The negligence of an entrepreneur and his management is a recipe for business failure.
  • When the growth rate of a business is slow and the parties involved are not driven to proffer solutions to the problem.
  • Expansion without focus: Before expansion a business should focus on one thing. After it succeeds in that one thing it can diversify into other areas.

The points listed boils down to the factors listed in the diagram above. Failure to properly put them into consideration while planning would eventually lead to a business failure. Avoiding these loopholes increases the chance of a business surviving.

Do you feel we have left out helpful tips as to how to identify business failure signs please feel free to drop them as comments.

P.S: Have you signed up for our free newsletter yet? You will get fresh helpful tips as soon as they are published. As simple as you entering your email below.

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