My friend was just put in charge of organizing monthly activities for a large group. His first move? He handed out a survey, asking people for feedback on previous activities. He very carefully, very thoughtfully came up with about ten questions and sat back, awaiting the responses so he could craft his plans for the future. And do you know what question elicited the most interesting and helpful responses? Was it, “What ideas would you like to see implemented?” Nope. Was it, “How can we improve?” Nope. Was it, “Punch or soda?” Nope.
The most interesting, helpful question was this one: “What activities make you want to poke your eyes out?” He got more answers to that question than all the other questions combined. Suddenly, he had an avalanche of information about people’s pet peeves he could use to propel future plans. He knew exactly what not to do in the future, what activities to avoid and exactly what people hated about them.
It’s always good to know the worst
Sometimes knowing what people don’t want to do is just as helpful as knowing what they do like to do. That’s what my buddy found with his planning survey and that’s what you’ll find with your small business. Certainly, knowing what your target audience likes is valuable info, but you also need to know what they hate. Understanding what drives people crazy helps you understand people in general. When you know your audience’s top dislikes, you know how to tailor your message and services to their preferences and needs. This helps you craft a more efficient business plan and model, targeted more directly to a consumer whose motivations and tastes you understand more fully. Plus it helps you avoid, well, making them poke their eyes out.