How to understand your customers

A key element of any business idea is to understand who your target audience is and what the customers require. What do your potential customers really want? How can you provide the best service? Our experts answer these questions and more in the Athlete365 Business Accelerator programme.

  • Using a basic multi-step process, we can break down how to best understand customers.
  • From this, you should be able to identify a problem and tailor a solution which can become a viable business.
  • The Athlete365 Business Accelerator programme uses this technique and more to help develop your skills.

One way to better understand your customers is to use the Design Thinking Process. This five-step method encourages potential business owners to prioritise customers and the goal is to create a final product which fits their needs. The steps are not always linear; if you have a product in mind already, it may make sense to test it prior to defining your target customer and modifying further.

Empathise

In this first stage, the most vital practice to undertake is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What specific problems do they need to overcome? What can you offer them to solve these problems? Once this is established, you should speak with a wide range of potential customers to gather feedback around what their needs are.

Define

It is key to then collate the data you have received from your interviews and feedback. Following this, you will create personas of your target audience. Perhaps the ideal customers work in a certain field and are of a certain age group. Whatever they are, you should make note of the different demographics your business idea will appeal to.

Ideate

The ideate stage is when you apply your creative skills. A brainstorming session should produce a large number of ideas. When filtering down your suggestions, two factors must be considered: feasibility and impact. If your ideas are feasible but will make little change, they are probably not worth considering. Similarly, if you have a highly impactful solution, but with unachievable requirements, it may be worth considering other ideas. Don’t be afraid to challenge your ideas to produce the best outcome.

Prototype

Now that your solution has a final form following the Ideate process, it’s time to gather feedback via a prototype. If your solution involves a physical product, you should achieve this by developing a first version and having users interact with it. If it is service based, you can assess this by performing role plays, storyboards, or other interactive practices.

Test

At the test stage, not only do you want as much feedback on your product as possible, but you should now be reaching a wider spread of customers who will help you further tailor your business as time goes on. Maybe your product will surprise you and reach a different demographic than initially predicted, and you can react accordingly. Don’t be afraid to adapt and change your idea dependent on customer feedback.

Do you have a business idea and are ready to take the next steps? The Athlete365 Business Accelerator programme helps to build on your skills and get your plan up and running, with free, step-by-step advice from our experts. If you successfully complete the online course, you will be invited to attend a two-day workshop led by industry specialists, where you can further develop your idea and entrepreneurial skills.