MK here. I am working on a new business with a global team.
We are a diverse group. We are millennia's, genXs and boomers. We are British, Chinese, American and Canadian. We are diverse in culture, education and gender. Just like our target market.
Yesterday I was talking to one of the leaders about the product offering and in his gentlemanly British accent he told me: "I just can't get my head around it. I won't be willing to use our service that way.”
Now, what is important to understand is that my business partner in this venture is a 50+ year-old school administrator and math teacher. In fact, he is a genius in both regards.
But, our customer is small ecommerce business owner.
The market research shows they are traditionally 25-40 and 50% are female. They are dealing with all the traditional challenges of small business, including managing product inventory, cash flow and currency exchange. At this particular moment, these are all amplified by the Q4 rush, pending holidays.
A highly destructive challenge in start-ups is thinking YOU are the customer.
It's easy to solve a problem for yourself but ah the mischief.... YOU are not your CUSTOMER.
Solving a problem for someone else is hard. It requires putting yourself in their shoes —understanding their business, their challenges and their preferences.
Here is the mischief. Too often in early stage companies the product team or development will solve the technical problem in a way that works for them.
That's great, only we are here to solve the problem for the customers not ourselves.
Look for the mischief in your product design, product development and user experience. Your female customers don't think like your male developers.
Most importantly, when someone is shutting down an idea, listen to how they are relating to the product. If their comments begin with “I just can’t get my head around it”, or “I would never….”, just remind them:
You are not your CUSTOMER.