Using the Empathy Map to understand your customers

empathy map
(Click the image to zoom in)

Last week, we talked about the Empathy Map, a fantastic tool that helps you truly understand your customers, so you can more accurately deliver a product or service they’ll love.

This week, we’ll dive a bit further into the Empathy Map.

The empathy map has seven quadrants:

1. Who are we empathizing with?

Briefly define your typical or average customer here. You can give your customer a name, and briefly describe their characteristics like age, income and job as all well as their personalities or social status, their situation, and their role in the situation.

2.What do they need to do?

We are still in the Goal quadrant of the Empathy Map, so what do they need to change to reach their goal? What decisions do they need to make? What will trigger them to be successful, and how can we find out if they’ve succeeded?

3.What do they see?

What do they see in the marketplace? What do they see in their immediate environment? What do they see others saying and doing? What are they watching and reading? All this information is valuable to understanding their external stimuli, how this is affecting them, and how this might impact the decisions they make.

If you have empathy, you can talk to your customers and present them with solutions that will allow them to reach their goals.

4.What do they say?

What have we heard them say? What can we imagine them saying? What are their reactions? What are they talking about with friends, colleagues or family members?

5.What do they do?

What is their actual behaviour? How are they behaving and why? What can we imagine they may do?

6.What do they hear?

What do their friends, colleagues, and others say? What do they hear secondhand?

John Gay, an English poet back in the 1600s, wrote: “Tell me, and I forget. Show me, and I remember. Involve me, and I understand.”

You can hear all you want, and you may be influenced by what others say, but you are convinced when you get involved. If you need to buy a car, you need to try the car, get involved with it, drive around to make a decision. Companies need to get involved with their customers. But for a customer to get involved with a company, the company needs to design great customer experiences. Empathy is key!

7. What do they think and feel (pains/gains)

What do they fear most? Are they frustrated, anxious, or even worried about their present situation? Identify their pain points. Then, identify their gains, their dreams, and hopes. What do they want? What are their pains and gains?

For more about the Empathy Map and how it can help your small business, check out Class 3 of our 100 Essential Small Business SkillsTM program!

Share this post:

The Empathy Map and entrepreneurship

empathy map
(Click the image to zoom in)

We use the term empathy in business to reflect our understanding of our customers – who they are, what they like and don’t like, what motivates them to buy something or not, and what pains we can solve for them.

Why is empathy important in business?

When we show empathy for our customers, we understand them from their perspective and, as business owners, we produce better services and products for them. Having empathy allows us to understand what needs our customers have (pains) and helps us estimate the value our products or services will create for our customers (gains).

Many small business owners get too focused on solving a particular problem that’s important to them, but maybe not to their customers. This is why developing an Empathy Map is so critical when designing or launching a new venture. You will be able to identify insights about your potential customers that you did not know were there. You’ll be able to make products or services that stick by taking the time to understand your customer, and developing empathy for them.

The Empathy Map and entrepreneurship

The Empathy Map, shown above, was created by David Grey, of XPLANE and author of The Connected Company and Gamestorming. This tool has been used by millions of small business owners and their teams to develop deep, shared understanding and empathy for their customers.

1. Start with the Goal section, by defining who will be the subject of the Empathy Map and what you want them to do. This should be framed in terms of new and observable behaviour.

2. Once you have clarified the goal, work your way clockwise around the canvas, until you have covered See, Say, Do, and Hear. The reason for this is that the process of focusing on observable phenomena (things that they see, say, do and hear) is like walking a mile in your customer’s shoes. It gives us a chance to imagine what their experiences might be like, to give us a sense of what it “feels like to be them.”

3. Only after you have made the circuit of outside elements do you focus on what’s going on inside your customer’s head. The large head in the centre is one of the most important aspects of the map’s design. The whole idea is to imagine what it’s like to be inside someone else’s head.

For more about the Empathy Map and how it can help your small business, check out Class 3 of our 100 Essential Small Business SkillsTM program!

Share this post:

Should you call it quits in your small business?

should you quit your small business

At GoForth Institute, we’re all entrepreneurs too, and most of us have been business owners more than once. Entrepreneurship is a rewarding journey, but it’s also got its fair share of failures and struggles.

Obviously, we want you to love what you do, but like the song says – sometimes love just ain’t enough. If you’ve been getting that nagging feeling that maybe this particular stage of your entrepreneurship journey is at an end, one or more of these signs might sound familiar to you:

  • You’re losing money at a rapid pace. It can take up to three years for a small business to turn a profit, but if you’ve tried everything and still see your money slipping away faster than it’s coming in, it’s not good. Lack of cash flow is the number one cause of business failure.
  • Your relationships are suffering. If you’re so stressed that you’re taking it out on your loved ones, or work so much that you never see them, it could also be an indication that it’s time to close up shop. However, it could also be an sign that you need to hire some help!
  • You’re bored. When you started your small business, you were thrilled by it and spent every waking hour dreaming and planning. But what if you have no more ideas and are just running on fumes? Could you benefit from seeking outside help with planning or networking?
  • You dread your workdays. If the thought of another day as a small business owner makes you feel miserable, that’s not a good sign. Analyze this feeling. Would a new direction for the business help? Some new employees to take the load off? Think about what it would take to make you love your small business again, and plan out all options.
  • Your health is taking a turn for the worse. If the pressure and stress you’re feeling about your small business is taking a toll on your health, then something’s not right.

Is it time to close your business?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or two of these things, you may have a problem. It might be a sign that it’s time to think of an exit strategy. However, it could also be a sign of a problem that can be solved in a different way – a staff member to take the load off, for example.

As we said above, most businesses don’t become profitable until about the third year of business, so we usually don’t advise throwing in the towel after, say, 14 months. However, if you’re starting to feel like maybe you want out, take it seriously. Take time to analyze all options available to you, to make very sure this is the best course of action. If you do decide to close up shop, regroup, reflect, and plan for your next small business!

We should also mention here that skills training can make the difference when it comes to entrepreneurship success. No matter what stage of business you’re in, small business education, like the kind offered by us at GoForth Institute, may help you tip the balance from “What do I do?” to “I have a plan!” Knowledge is power!

Share this post:

Small business blog posts we liked this week

Whether your small business is winding down or picking up, take some time to enjoy these small business blog posts and articles we’ve enjoyed recently. Read anything you liked? Let us know in the comments!

Waking Up at 5 a.m. Isn’t Enough to Make You a Successful Entrepreneur at Entrepreneur

How Two Leaders Use Hidden Storytelling Techniques To Inform And Influence at Forbes

Why Social Entrepreneurs Are So Burned Out at Harvard Business Review

Share this post:

Entrepreneurial inspiration from Oprah Winfrey

You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it - Oprah Winfrey

At GoForth, we’ve designed our industry-leading small business training to help you ensure you do get paid. We love when entrepreneurs make money! However, we thought this quote from Oprah Winfrey was an interesting metric to help you gauge your passion for your small business.

It’s estimated that about 60% of new business ideas are related to the entrepreneur’s hobby. Passion for what you do is vital, especially for a journey as complicated as entrepreneurship!

Read our ways you can turn your hobby into a great small business.

Share this post: