Whenever someone tells me “I have an idea” (presumably for their business), my first question is always: “Based on what?”
Most of the time, I get a blank stare.
And then I hear: “Well, based on my experience now that I’ve been doing this for a while.”
But what I’m really looking for is this: Tell me exactly what the market is telling you. What are the exact words that people are using?
And then I’ll tell you whether or not I think it’s a good idea.
THIS USUALLY RESULTS IN MORE BLANK STARES…
Why do so many of us sit at our desks and try to create better versions of our products based on our own ideas and thoughts, rather than asking ourselves the hard questions? Questions like: Why did someone not buy this? What did they want instead? What are they also asking for? What trends are happening around me?
What if, instead, we reminded ourselves that it is our job as CEO to be on the listen, to constantly look ahead and wonder what the market will want, and to make predictions about how it will evolve?
Here’s an example of how I do that with Her Corner.
As many of you know, we hold a monthly free coffee in Washington, DC—we’ve done so for more than five years. And we now do the same in other cities. During last month’s coffee, I heard women asking me these questions—questions I get each and every time:
1. Who do you recommend for web design?
2. Who do you recommend for branding?
3. Who do you recommend for… [fill in the blank]?
So what am I hearing? What is my market telling me?
They’re telling me that they trust Her Corner’s brand and they trust our judgment, and they want to know who they should work with in order to help them scale their businesses.
So while in the short term we’re giving these women some names of companies, we’ve also decided to make a strategic pivot to actively respond to what our market is seeking.
I can’t quite share what those changes will be, but don’t be surprised in a few months when we make some announcements that make sense based on what we are hearing. Remember, you heard it here first! 🙂