How To Create Products and Services Customers Will Love – Michael Haynes

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The context behind Listen, Innovate, Grow came from my experience working with SMBs and realizing there were a lot of untapped opportunities. Often the primary limiting factor to small business growth is the owner being too ingrained working in the business vs. on the business. A good example of working on the business is market positioning and future planning. The business owner is the one that should be driving the strategy around who their target customers are, how they are perceived by those customers, and what efforts are required to reach those customers. If the business owner spends too much of their time putting out fires and handling individual transactions they become ineffective at leading the business which limits the growth potential.

A misconception in the SMB market is that creating a strategic business plan is a waste of time. You spend all this time and energy on it only to have it sit on a shelf and collect dust. That was the old way of business planning and it failed to achieve the desired result. Done correctly a business plan should be a fairly concise document that is responsive to changes in the market. Business plans should also be collaborative and include input from the leaders and team members in your organization. Anyone can write out a business plan in isolation but when you engage your team is when you find out what is achievable given where your business is at today.

When it comes to product-market fit, the simplest way to think about it is are you offering products or services that customers want to buy. The starting point is to understand who you want to reach, what problems do they have, and what types of solutions will appeal to them. I do a lot of work with service-based businesses and often what we find is they might get hired to do one job but customers have related problems that need solving. That is where creating bundles of services can have a big impact on growth in your business. Taking the time to listen to your prospects and customers to gain insights on how to better serve them is what will help you stand out from your competition.

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