Many small business owners become highly focused on solving a particular problem that’s important to them. But what about what their customers want? This is why developing an Empathy Map is so critical. An Empathy Map will help you identify insights about your potential customers that you might not have known were there. You’ll be able to produce successful products or services by taking the time to understand your customer, and developing empathy for them.
Why is empathy important in business?
Empathy is very important in building a successful business. Empathy reflects our understanding of our customers – who they are, what they like and don’t like, what motivates them to make a purchase (or not), and what needs we can solve for them.
Empathy allows us to understand our customers’ perspective. As business owners, that helps us produce better services and products for them. Having empathy lets us understand what needs (or pains) our customers have, and helps us estimate the value our products or services will create for our customers (gains).
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!