42. Is your business selfish?

Such a strange question? Well, if you’re behind your venture then probably the appropriate one is are you running it selfishly? And more importantly, why does it even matter?

Well, I started to see something interesting as a consumer of businesses. When I observed myself as the consumer, I realised that some businesses asked a lot of me even after I’d already given them my money.

How much do you ask of your customers? Now, a customer has no other obligation other than to pay you an agreed amount of money in exchange for a product or service. That’s it. But often, we ask a bit more from them.

We ask for a review or testimonial or to fill out a survey. We ask them for their email so they can keep up to date on stuff, etc.

And all of this is ok and at the same it’s selfish. We tend to forget that asking something of someone’s time is the act of being selfish. And knowing this is a good thing when running a business.

You can keep track of how much time you’re asking of your client. Are you asking them to wait a certain amount of time or provide some information prior to purchasing. Acknowledging all the steps (and time) your customer has to go through gives you a better perspective on their experience.

Monitoring the number of “asks” versus the number of “gives” of your customer will help you develop a relationship with them so that you can ask from them when needed. The issue I faced whenever I would get frustrated with doing business with a company was when I had given more than I had gotten (paid for).

The customer (and myself included) remembers those that have given more than expected. So when it comes time to ask for a survey or a testimonial it feels natural to want to give back what I’ve received.

Knowing how selfish your business is (asks vs. gives) will reveal how your customer experiences your business. Understanding what it’s like to do business with you, will ultimately make you better at running a business.