Changing your business thinking from inside > out to outside > in...


Why you should think about your business from the outside looking in…..

Nine times out of ten, I find that small businesses owners have not taken the time to define what is unique about their product or service in the minds of the customer. They can define what is unique from their own perspective but that’s not what appeals to a potential customer. This is a crucial mistake both for understanding who your customer is and for knowing how you speak to your audience.

I find this particularly prevalent in the creative sector where business owners have not really thought about who the customer is and why they should buy the product. But this also applies to the B2B sector and the service industry. Instead business owners are focussed solely on why they think the customer should buy the product.

An example of this in the retail/creative sector might be: ‘the product is handmade and made in Ireland’ – yes this is certainly an incentive for a certain segment of buyers both at home and abroad but it’s not the over-arching motivation for all consumers in what is already a highly competitive space.

In the services sector – this may translate to ‘ we are the best at what we do and we are the most knowledgeable in this sector’ and the question I always ask is “Really? Do your customers think or know that that? Because if they did you would be no. 1 with no competition”

Using this example switch your thinking to the mind of the customer - not every consumer within Ireland is concerned about whether the product is made here– so what? they might say. They are more concerned about “What will this product do for me? How will it make me feel, look, or how will it improve my life?

So how do you go about changing your business thinking from looking from the inside out to your customers to instead from your customers perspective looking from the outside in….

Here is an exercise to help….

Take one product – this also applies to a service….


1.      Write down what you think is the best selling point for that product

2.      Now take that same product and list out 4 reasons why four different people might buy your product
e.g a hand cream:       

a.      natural ingredients

b.      hypoallergenic,

c.       fragrance,

d.      luxury gift


3.      Now take the same product and ask 4 very different people you know why they might buy the product – ask them to be really honest.

4.      Ideally your next step is to survey your actual customers and ask them why they bought the product.

Now compare to your initial thoughts in point 1 to the rest of your results. If they all match – Congratulations you have your USP and marketing message aligned. If not – you have a bit of work to do…..

Knowing who your customers are and what their motivations to purchase are encourages brand loyalty, multiple purchases, and more referrals building a much stronger relationship between your business and your individual customers.

We’d love you to share your results in the comments….