We’ve all heard the phrase:
To keep up with what your customers want most in today’s competitive market, you need [insert bright shiny product/ course/service].
But, what if it wasn’t true? What if the only things different in “today’s competitive market” were the speed of the Internet, and the whole “global economy” thing? After all, when hasn’t the market – any market – been competitive? When active bartering (aka haggling) was the only form of commerce, there was competition.
Even today, local farmers’ markets are competitive: look at how many booths sell produce, honey, nuts, bread, fresh fish, or smoked meats! At craft fairs, look at how many booths sell hand-crafted necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, plus all the household items you could ever dream of owning.
What if the fear-mongerers who use the phrase don’t want you to know the truth?
What is the truth? To be successful in your business, you only need one thing:
CUSTOMERS, HUNGRY ONES
You want customers who want what youre offering. Customers buy only three things: physical products, knowledge, or services. That’s it. (Go ahead, think about it a minute; took me a few to realize that everything I’ve ever bought was one of those three things.) Sometimes there are combinations of those three. But, the customer buys at least one of them.
Any physical product you offer must be useable, and stand up to that use.
Any information you offer must meet the customer’s need, and continue to be of value to that customer.
Any service you offer must be efficient, ongoing, and worth it to the customer.
If your product, or information, or service is useless, worthless, or out of date, then you’ve lost a customer.
It doesn’t matter how many [bright shiny products/courses/services] you buy to improve your Internet presence, or touch on the global market. If you don’t have quality, your competition will take over your market. Its always been that way. (Dont believe me? Watch Disneys Aladdin and watch the vendors trying to entice Princess Jasmine to buy a pretty necklace for a pretty lady! or a handful of pistachios.)
YOU STILL NEED TO KEEP UP WITH PROGRESS
I’m not saying that you should ignore the products or courses or services that will make your business stand out. In fact, it’s because of the Internet – and its long reach – that you need to be aware of what your customers want. If it means taking an online course, then do so. If it means going to local sources to think global, then do that.
Just be sure to study as many of the possibilities before buying into the next [bright shiny product/info/service]. As in anything else, buy what you need as inexpensively as you can (not cheaply – that’s poor quality and you don’t anything to do with that), to get the most out of it that you can.
Then, go out and find your hungry customers – in any market!
What bright shiny object have you fallen prey to lately? Did you regret it afterwards, or did it actually help you improve your business? Let me know in the comments.