The ideal customer

We don’t grow by not wanting to be where we are. There is something about rejection that in fact creates more attachment to the situation. Some of the wrong reasons for wanting to grow your business include not wanting to work with your current customers any more. We’ve all gone through the phase of wondering if the people we’re currently serving are really the best match for us. Sometimes we need to move to another type of customer who better understands and values what we offer, but before we do this, a couple of questions might be handy: What do my current customers love about working with me? Why is working with these customers no longer fulfilling? What isn’t working with my current customers? What do I see of myself…
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Your what is your who

consumer behaviour, customers, purpose
Your purpose defines who you are for: who is going to understand your story, who is embracing your narrative, who is ready, who has got it and who can’t wait. If your customer doesn’t share your purpose, you become another product or service.  Does your customer believe in what you believe? Our work is not just to find people who believe what we believe, but to find those who do and are struggling to get where they want to be. Our business can become a way of getting not close to what they need, but what they want.   Defining the what, the purpose, the value and the intention becomes in the long term the best way of defining who this is for.
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The way you look

customers, story
We are transformed by the way we see our customers: how we see their strengths, what we think success looks like for them, and how we believe in them and their ability to thrive. When Nike tells you to “just do it” and L'Oréal tells you it’s "because you're worth it" they’re sending a message about how they see you and your potential, and who you could become.  However, for this message to be powerful it must be true for yourself first. What you see in your customers you must also see in yourself. A brand that’s alive doesn’t live in social media, but in the intention behind your every business decision. 
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Start with ‘who’

customers, empathy, story
If your customers are the heroes of your story, it makes sense to look at them first when you’re creating a story that will resonate with your audience. However, human beings don't construct their own narratives in isolation but in conversation with others. You can’t look at others without looking at yourself first. Starting with ‘who’ can be an invitation to explore yourself with others and others with yourself; the stories you all tell, how you see them, and how they see you.  Empathy is not a detached way of looking at our customers. We see our customers as we are: their eagerness to practice at sport, their love for the environment, or how much they want to be in control of their finances. The way I look at them…
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Points of view and interests

customers, story
Nick Boles, a British conservative politician, recently said: “I don’t represent peoples’ points of views but their interests, and if they don’t like the results, they should just not vote for me in the next election.” When we take our customers on a journey we can think of it as committing to making the story they tell themselves, about who they are and what their vision is, true.  We’re not here to reinforce the ways they’ve done things before: we’re proposing to them that they change something. If you see your work in terms of supporting  their interests, their dreams and who they really want to be, you might take more time to find out not who they are, but who they could be if they dared to live the…
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What it takes to be the among the best

culture, customers
Arzak is one of the top fifty restaurants in the world. It’s a family restaurant located at the top of a hill in Donostia, Basque Country, in Spain.  Arzak has been awarded three Michelin stars since 1989. He’s travelled all over the world to eat at the best restaurants and bring back the best ideas to transform Basque cuisine. Once he said “I bring what I see in Japan or in any other country and I translate it into what Basque people love to eat. I’m Basque, and that’s how I think about food.” The closer you can get to your audience, the easier it is to bring them the best. What is the common ground between you and them? How can you translate knowledge and information that’s out there…
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The test of the indispensable pro

customers, work that matters
My friend used to work in a lab. Researchers are peculiar people. They can actually spend long hours at work and really enjoy it. Sometimes they might struggle to socialise with other colleagues as they tend to work independently, with their own deadlines, objectives and projects, but that was not what was happening at my friend’s lab.  The lab was located in a building where other research institutes were also based. In the building there was a cafe run by an exceptional woman who had decided to take on the mission of getting to know the people working around her. She knew their names, the names of their children, and the work they were doing. While serving a coffee or food there was always a bit of a conversation about…
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Your customer is not right

customers, feedback
Sometimes we fall into the trap of wanting to be who we think our customers want us to be. We listen to our customers, we conduct surveys and focus groups, we gather feedback and we conclude that our business should evolve in a different direction. Giving and receiving feedback is an art, just as knowing what to do with it is. When some customers at your vegan cafe ask for beef sandwiches as an option for lunch, when some of the feedback you’re collecting from your slow fashion business reveals that some customers would love more collections per year at cheaper prices, when people who attend your women-only gym would love men to be included in the classes, you don’t necessarily need to follow their advice.  Knowing who you are…
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Who do you want to become?

Business, customers, story
The story we tell our customers shapes us. In a way we hope that this story will become the way we see the world, and the world sees us. But the story we tell has many layers. The most superficial ones talk about how we want to be perceived and seen in order to grow our business and get more customers. This is the story that sometimes we feel we need to create to stand out in a crowded and noisy market. The other story is the real one, the one that drives our decisions, the reason we’re in business, why we do what we do and who we’re doing it for.  No matter what’s reflected in the mirror, most of the time we become the story we truly believe,…
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Is happiness a business goal?

connection, customers, Goals
Most of the business goals that we might think of are measurable, achievable and realistic. So by default we think in terms of numbers and figures: create a product or a service, get X number of customers, increase our turnover by X per cent. But many of the things that really matter to us are not included in this list of possible goals. How about feeling happier after finishing my work? What about feeling prouder about what I do? What about focusing on delighting every single customer that I interact with today?  This might not hit the headlines for the 2019 Best Business Awards, and that’s scary. In a world in which we create categories and boundaries for everything that we do, it’s strange to constantly hear people talking about…
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