Every successful business requires three things:

– something of value that they will like to exchange for money
– customers who buy from them
– satisfied and happy customers who return to the business

One thing that is usually not considered by many business owners, though, is that customers’ requirements change as their needs alter.

The core need may not change but the fulfillment and expression of that need changes.

Let’s take a look at one example.

Think about the transition of how audiences acquired, kept and listened to their favourite songs over the years. We had the stereo, the cassette tapes and players, the Walkman, the Discman, and the iPod.

Today, most people download their favorite music from the Internet on their laptops, smart phones and other devices, and back them up in the cloud to retrieve whenever they want.

Did the desire to have their music exactly when they needed it change? The simple answer is “No”.

However, the way in which that need is fulfilled has drastically and dramatically changed.

Business owners cannot avoid to bury their heads in the sand only because things might be going well at the moment. There are several examples of large companies who towed this line with disastrous consequences for their businesses.

As business owners, we must constantly assess our customers’ requirements and be prepared to modify our activities, offerings and innovate accordingly.

To do this effectively, you have to understand customers and anticipate their requirements.

This is why you need to constantly research your customers, get into their heads, and understand their frustrations.

By researching your customers, you minimize the risk to your business, identify new opportunities, and communicate better with your audiences.

To correctly research your customers, follow these 3 steps:

1. Identify your target market
Identify them by age, gender, income level, lifestyle, personality, values, consumption habits and behaviors, among others.

2. Understand your target customer’s buying behavior
Based on the product or service you are offering, consider if your target customers will make a routine buying decision, limited decision by getting more information about the product or service first, extensive decision by taking their time to consider alternative options or if they will make an impulse decision.

3. Identify your target customers specific pain points
Find out the specific pain that needs relieving and create something that you think will relieve that pain. Take the product or service to them and ask them what they think before you fully launch.

Armed with these information, you will be better able to avoid wasting resources, and offer products and services that are better focused, well targeted and that make you money.