Do You Know What Your Customers Want? Are You Sure? Your world revolves around your customers, not the other way around. Treat them like it.

By Daniel Newman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


You are not your customer.

Some entrepreneurs struggle to understand and work within this concept. It's not too surprising, really. Successful entrepreneurs are passionate, motivated people who focus on what they want to happen. They then strive to transform their vision into reality.

Entrepreneurs often make decisions based on what they think the customer wants, rather than on market data and customer feedback. It's an easy mistake to make. Fortunately for business owners, it's also correctable.

Business ventures must be customer-focused to a high degree or they will fail to meet customer wants and needs. Leaders of successful companies put their customers' desires ahead of their own.

Companies benefit from good customer service.

As all experienced businesspeople can tell you, there are many benefits to providing good, professional customer service. Creating and maintaining healthy customer relations can mean the difference between a company's success or its death -- and that holds true for established businesses as well as startups.

If you're launching a new venture, you should spend time identifying and describing the benefits you expect to see if you focus on stellar customer-service interactions. A person's first impression of your business is critically important. And as the saying goes, you get only one chance. Helpful, professional service is the key to providing customers with a happy and memorable first experience.

Related: To Create Great Customer Experiences, Do This

The best customer-service programs include ways to truly listen to complaints and provide resources to help find innovative solutions. Now is the perfect time to seek customer feedback and fine-tune accordingly. Because your product or service is relatively new, you can use this approach to work out all the common bugs even as you're polishing your product or service model. You then can give your customer base exactly what it wants.

Prioritizing customer service from day one positively influences company philosophy. This can lead to a powerfully customer-focused culture, and you'll reap the many rewards from following their lead.

Overconfidence can lead to downfall.

Confidence is an essential trait for entrepreneurs. But business owners who become too overconfident can fall into a pit of their own making. Entrepreneurs must remember they aren't the center of the world. In fact, to be successful, they need to view the world revolving around their customers.

Related: How to Avoid the Pitfalls of 'I Get It' Syndrome

Here are some examples of the perils of overconfidence:

  • Falling for the "hard-easy effect." A person who finds it easy to complete a task others perceive as difficult begins to believe all the other hard tasks will be easy, too.
  • Believing in your golden touch. A string of successes can lead an entrepreneur to the mistaken belief that he or she has the Midas touch. As a result, the business owner might take on projects that clearly are doomed to failure.
  • Overlooking information. An overconfident entrepreneur might start to overlook small details. While he or she is focused on grand ambitions, the small stumbling blocks pile up along the way.
  • Switching to autopilot. Performing the same activities again and again can lull a person into a false sense of security. Serial entrepreneurs -- people who launch business after business -- could begin to function without carefully considering how their actions will affect the latest endeavor. At best, this creates a new business that's only as successful as the one before. At worst, entrepreneurs risk repeating the same mistakes time and again.

Related: The Biggest Lessons to Building a Successful Career and Legacy

As an entrepreneur, you rely on your passion and industry knowledge to propel your new business forward. But it's important to remember you're creating products or services for customers, not for yourself. A single mistake can spell failure. Be wary of putting yourself on a pedestal or becoming overconfident. Focus on your customers, and they will lead you to success.

Daniel Newman

President of Broadsuite

Dan Newman is the president of Broadsuite where he works side by side with brands big and small to help them be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world. He is also the author of two books, is a business professor and a huge fan of watching his daughters play soccer. 

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