7 Key Traits of Successful Businesses
(Episode 2 of 2 with Darshan Mehta)
Welcome back to another episode with Darshan Mehta, author of Getting to Ah-ha. In the last episode, we discussed how to improve our businesses through customer insights. Today, we’re going to look at seven key traits of successful businesses.
We will cover the following key takeaways:
- We should listen to our customers.
- We need to make sure we ask our customers the right questions and don’t assume anything.
- When we find an emotional connection with our customers, our chances of success are enhanced.
- We should be authentic and honest.
- If we aren’t willing to change, we will likely become obsolete.
- There is opportunity in blending two ideas or trends together to create a unique product or service.
- We should treat our work as our legacy.
As an entrepreneur, Darshan has learned many valuable lessons over his career. Here are seven key tips he shared with us today:
1. Listen to Your Customers
One of Darshan’s greatest successes was working with a client who was a children’s retailer.
They were opening their store at 10 a.m. every morning, but they realized that many mothers shopping for their children wanted to do so earlier. One mom said that after she dropped her kids off at school and grabbed breakfast, she’d be ready to go shopping but the store wasn’t open yet, so she wouldn’t go.
When the client learned this, they changed their hours and started opening earlier. “Within a week, they more than paid for all the research and totally changed the trajectory of their sales from that simple little insight from talking to their customers,” Darshan said.
We should always be listening to our customers. It is well worth the time and effort it takes to do the research, run focus groups, and send out surveys because it helps us determine what our customers really want. Not only that, but by listening to our customers we show them that we really care and they are more likely going to keep coming back.
2. Ask the Right Questions
One of the biggest mistakes Darshan has seen related to customer insights happened to Coke, even though they listened to their customers.
When they were trying to find a new flavor of Coke, they ran a lot of testing. They had their customers taste new variations of Coke flavors blindly and afterwards found that there was one clear winning flavor. With this new information, they discontinued the original Coke flavor and introduced the new flavor everyone loved. However, when they did this they forgot to ask, “How would you react if we took your classic coke away?”
As soon as they took the Coke classic away, their customers had an emotional reaction. They wanted it back because it was something they had grown up with. Coke ended up bringing it back because of the strong reaction they got from their customers.
As we do our research and talk with our customers, we have to remember to ask the right questions. We shouldn’t assume we know what they want. Even if they tell us what they want, we shouldn’t assume what they don’t want.
3. Add Emotion
Darshan’s best monetization is to, “find ways to make it simpler, cheaper, faster, and easier, and attach an emotion to it. Whether it’s digital, or in the real world, your chances of being successful are greatly enhanced.”
In the example above with Coke, in addition to not asking the right question, they also forgot about that emotional connection their product had with their customers. We have to remember that in order to really be successful, everything is about understanding human nature and emotions.
Coke had been selling their drink for years and it had created an emotional connection with their customers who grew up with it. They had memories attached to the drink and so when Coke took it away, they negatively reacted.
“Research isn’t all the answer, you have to really think about it from many different perspectives,” Darshan said. People are buying experiences more than products.
4. Be Authentic
“A lot of people are looking for brands that are really true and authentic,” Darshan said. Our customers want us to be authentic and honest. A huge part of that is how we deal with our mistakes and complaints. Do we own up to our mistakes? Or do we try to pretend we are perfect and overlook them? Darshan continued, “The real thing people look for is how does the brand respond to dissatisfaction? That’s where you build credibility.”
From the beginning, we should decide who we are as a brand and distinguish ourselves from others. What is our identity? Once we know that, we should stick with it and own up to who we are.
Pedigree, a brand that sells dog food, does a great job with being authentic. They know who they are and what they stand for. They love dogs. Because of this, they decided to find a way to make dogs’ lives better. They made a commitment to find loving homes for dogs and created the Pedigree Foundation where they accept donations to help dogs get adopted.
Their authenticity also connects to their customers’ passions. Their customers now want to buy from them to support the cause of helping dogs. This is a great example of passion marketing as well.
5. Be Willing to Change
The world is constantly changing. The marketplace is constantly changing. Our customers are constantly changing. We should be too.
“If you’re not going to innovate, you’re going to become stagnant and you’re going to basically become obsolete,” Darshan said. “You should innovate because that way you’re going to control your ultimate future and your ability to thrive.”
Change is the difference between surviving and thriving. If we can willingly accept change and make changes, we will be a lot better off than if we try and stay the same.
6. Combine Ideas
Darshan believes we are living in an era of blending. Not only do we see the blending of different cultures, but we also see the blending of products. For example, Taco Bell and Doritos partnered up to create Dorito tacos and customers loved it.
“You need to think about opportunities like blending products, or opportunities with someone else to create a unique partnership,” Darshan said.
What opportunities are there to partner with someone else? Innovation comes from merging two things together. I was at a Funnel Hacking live conference and I heard a presentation from an entrepreneur who had been wildly successful in the Ecommerce world. Her secret is to find two trends and combine them to create a new product. We can take something that’s successful, merge it with something else that’s successful, and often that is a huge recipe for success.
7. Make Your Work Your Legacy
Finally, the last tip we will look at today is to pursue our work as if it is our legacy.
“Don’t pursue your work as if it’s work, pursue your work as if it’s your legacy,” Darshan said. “It’s something you’re going to leave behind and when you make that shift, you will see it can make a big shift in the focus and the direction of many decisions you’re going to make. I think [it will] really drive your brand, and even bring you closer to your customers.”
Connect with Darshan
Thank you so much Darshan for sharing your stories and insights with us today. To learn more about or connect with Darshan: