What Do Customers Teach Us About Business?


This morning I started and finished, The UnStoppables: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial Power, by Bill Schley.

It’s a powerful book that brings us the essence and lessons of entrepreneurship, including what we learn from a band of Navy SEALs, Israeli investors, a branding expert, and a chairman of a multibillion-dollar tech company.

But my favorite nugget is about what we learn from customers.

Customers teach us how to be better.  

They are our ultimate business mentor, if we listen and learn.

Schley writes:

“Customers might as well be air and water; your business has no life without them.  Success is something you must learn from them because only they can teach it to you, through what they need, where their pain and pleasure are, how they want to be sold to, what kind of relationships they want to have with a company in your category, and so forth.  Customers hold the answers to all your most important questions about your product, service, and brand.  The Wonderful Paradox is that the secret of getting what you want is to think most about what they want.”

I’ve always been a fan of customer-connected development to build better software and ship better products.   Empathy for customers seems to be the difference that makes the difference when it comes to envisioning and creating great products and services.  (It works for education, too, when you put the learner-first, great things happen.)

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