In the early 80’s my business mentor gave me a list of books as a reading assignment. I had no idea how long the author’s words would stay with me. At the time, I simply understood a new way of looking at business, markets, and customers. What was relevant then is still today. Each book, including the new ones, is a timeless classic.
One of the key principles in each was the idea that needs, wants, and desires are universal. What makes a washer attractive in rural Iowa is fundamentally the same as what makes a washer attractive in Italy or Singapore. There are regional and cultural differences. While these differences are vitally important to business success, if one gets the fundamentals wrong, they are not even in the game! Too often, businesses presume that they understand what customers are looking for. Designers can forget about the basics. When this happens, everyone loses.
As I work with business partners on start-up concepts, I find myself circling back to the fundamentals. What are our target clients looking for? What are their needs and wants? Is there anything that makes our approach special, different?
The good news is that our answer is yes! We know what our clients need. It is more than just one customer; our target audience has shared needs. Each depends of a service provider fulfilling these needs in order to win.
I wonder if I appreciate how much I share in common with others. It is easy to see our differences. Individuals close to my heart have reminded me that I am more similar than I am different. In the moments where I see their pain, I find myself in tears. In the times where I feel their uncertainty, I wrestle with the doubts that hide in the darkness of my mind.
The answer for us is always the same. We are part of God’s family of love, forgiveness, and hope. When we gather we form a circle, a metaphorical church. God’s love is available “to all the churches—no exceptions.” (1 Corinthians 14.33)