I recently starting working with a business owner who was struggling to generate interest in her services. She started her business in a flurry of euphoria and excitement. The service had such a profound effect on her life that she could not wait to get trained and start offering it to others.

It has been 6 months after launching her business and she had long since run out of money and was clocking up debts fast. Needless to say she was beginning to panic. She had managed to get a few friends to be ‘guinea pigs’ but she was still waiting for her first customer.

One look at her website showed why:

The focus was all on the service and said nothing about what sort of problems she could solve or who she solved them for.
The website looked like her 12 year old daughter had created it. She did not realise that it made her look like an amateur and that meant one assumed her services were also amateurish.
She had her prices on the website and they were below the market norms, again giving the impression that her services were below standard.
The website navigation was confusing.
There was nothing about her as a person. People buy services from people and they like to see faces, especially when it is a very personal service.

I am not saying her business was failing because of her website. Each of the 5 points above are symptoms pointing to one underlying problem that is at the root of many failing businesses when they come to see me:

She lacked empathy with her target audience and the value she could add through her service

This lady was offering her services to people in the same position she was in before she had benefited from the service. When she was able to put herself in the position of how she was before she discovered the value of this service, it became obvious that her website made no sense at all!

I have heard it called the ‘Curse of Knowledge’ where we know too much about what we do to see things from our target audience’s perspective. We need to be able to get out of our head and see the world from the viewpoint of our ideal client. If we do not know what it is like to be an ideal client then we need to start asking!