Without customers, you don't have a business. The million-dollar question: Is there a paying customer for the business you are thinking of starting? It's such a simple question, but many people invest lots of money in businesses without knowing the answer. Entrepreneurs often make assumptions about what their intended customers need or want, the price they will pay, and so on. They even misjudge who their customers will be.
The lesson is equally simple. Learn as much as you possibly can about the needs and wants of your intended customers as quickly as you can. Ideally, you want customers to purchase from you as early in the business building process as possible.
Another critical factor to consider is the access customers have to information and choices in our networked economy. Customers really do have the power in a business relationship.
This changes everything.
Customers are active participants in the design and development of the products and services they buy. Today's powerful, knowledgeable customer no longer accepts mass-marketed offerings. Customers want personalized solutions to their needs. With so many choices, traditional factors such as price, quality, and timeliness become the price of entry. Customers today do business with the companies that also save them time and take the hassles out of doing business.