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They Just Don't Get It!

Small-business-blog-they-just-do-not-get-itHaving spent most of my career around technology, I have always been fascinated by the brilliance, intensity and passion of the entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists in that space. I have been equally taken aback by their, often, total lack of understanding or empathy with their prospective customer or user. How often have I heard the phrase "they just don't get it," either directly or through intimation?

And maybe they never will...if you make it the target audience's responsibility to "get it." People will not buy something they can't understand. And it's the responsibility of the designer, developer, sales person or small business owner to make sure their audience "gets it."

I just had another reaffirmation of this with a client for whom I'm helping put a business plan together. I try to get young companies to own the plan by acting during the entire plan development process as "the prospective audience." This forces the entrepreneur to describe his/her business model in ways my average brain (and, in turn, the average brain of the prospective audience) will understand. After I asked my client for about the tenth iteration of the basic business model description, in frustration he said, "you just don't get it." He was really the one that didn't get it. He could not put his business model into simple, concise terms that his prospective audience would understand and want to partner with or invest in.

How often have you been faced with a similar situation? An obvious opportunity that you could not seem to capitalize on because the prospective customer was just "too dense." Or was it that he wasn't "in your head," knowing what you know. He was thinking in terms of his own business, his own needs and requirements...just the way he should be. And the way you should be!

Having a user focus in everything you do in your small business is essential for any degree of success. This is the basis of "the elevator pitch" everyone tells you that you need (and you do, not just for pitching investors). And it works whether you're explaining what your business or your product does to a prospective customer, employee, investor, your significant other, or...even one of your kids.

To reach your audience you have to help them "get it," by portraying your business concept in simple, concise terms that make them understand and want to know more. With as little techno-babble and industry-specific phrases as possible. And find a way (in each situation) to relate what you do to something relevant to their particular situation. Audience empathy!

Think about the sentence or two that you use, today, to depict your business or product (and if it takes more than that it's too complicated). Could you use it to tell your aging Aunt Letitia what you do? If you can't, then you need to modify your message. Otherwise, nobody will "get it!"

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!


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