Steven Jobs's Wisdom Lives On
We’ve all heard of the late Steven Jobs. He is famous for innovation, marketing and design. And who knows how much he was worth. You might think Jobs was on a totally different level than you are, but we all have so much we can learn from him. I learned an important lesson from his wisdom, and once applied to my own business, the results spoke for themselves.
I used to spend hours and hours, week after week, interviewing people from my target audience. I knew that I needed to know them inside and out -- from what they ate for breakfast to what kept them up at night. The reason we must be in tune to their lives is because we need to know how to speak to them and convince them to buy from us.
What seems to be the problem?
As much time as I spent talking to, interviewing and polling my audience, I should have been a millionaire if that is all it took. I certainly knew what my audience struggled with, but my business struggled. What I learned from Steve Jobs is that customers (or potential customers) cannot tell you what they need. I wish they could sometimes. The truth is that if they knew what they needed, they wouldn’t necessarily need me. People know what problems they have, but you are the one to come up with the solution.
So, all that time I was asking my audience what they wanted or needed, and they didn’t really know. Of course, they knew what outcome they desired, but they had no idea how to get from A to B. There’s a great insight from Henry Ford who said, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Obviously, we are all happy that Ford invented an automobile instead of investing in a horse breeding business.
What happened when I provided a solution.
I was reading an article about Jobs randomly one day, when something he said struck a chord with me: “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Customers cannot tell you what they need. They can give you insight into their problems, but it is your responsibility to come up with the best solution. Brilliant! I kept right on talking to my target audience, but I shifted my focus.
I work with entrepreneurs (specifically in the crypto startup space) who are struggling to gain traction with their business. That is their problem. And I know how to fix it for them. I no longer expect my customers to tell me what to do for them. I simply need to know their problem. And once I understand what is going on, I develop a PR strategy for them.
Moreover, I can now market myself better because I am solution-focused. I know exactly what solutions I provide to exactly which problems. I know the pain points, I know the struggles, and now I know how to find each customer’s unique solution. When I got in tune with this lesson and began to market myself this way, my business began to churn.
Innovation never stops.
Okay, so you may be thinking that once you’ve developed your unique solution to your customer’s problem that the hard work is over, right? Wrong.
Take Jobs' lesson one step further: He invented iTunes, the first music solution that allowed you to play all of your music in one place. But did he stop there? Of course not. His continued influence has now given us iPhones, iPads and iWatches. His original solutions continue to evolve over time, even after he's gone. For those who continue his work at Apple and for entrepreneurs like him toiling everywhere, there is always a better solution to every problem waiting to be discovered. “Our task is to read things yet on the page,” Steve Jobs once said.
So, as entrepreneurs, we can never stop evolving our solution into something better. A better product, a better strategy, a better solution to the worries that keep our customers up at night. We must always be hungry to make their lives better, easier and more fulfilling.
Jobs and I have completely different businesses. I don’t know that I’ll ever reach his level of success. Very few ever do. But what I have realized is that we can learn a lot from others who have walked the path we want to walk someday. Who better to learn from than the successful? Sometimes all it takes is one shift in your strategy to open big doors.