If you have the luxury of understanding your market and customers and have the much needed financing before you start your project, then you should take full advantage of it. With the many of the key ingredients needed to succeed already in place, 80% of the battle is won before you go onto the battlefield. There is nothing better (and I cannot stress this enough), than having all the information at the back of your hand before you walk out the door.
Sadly, in most cases having most of things you need aligned and winning 80% of the battle is really a luxury many entrepreneurs never really have. In reality, you may not be able to have all the information beforehand, but it is always best to do your homework and prepare yourself as much as possible. This will give you an advantage over the rest when you start your venture.
When you put yourself in another person’s shoes, you are able to empathize with them and understand how they think and feel. This helps a lot when you have to pitch or promote your product or service to them. When you are marketing to a customer, if you know what their needs or what are the problems you are solving for them, then what you communicate with them may trigger the right messages and they will be more receptive to you. People just want others to understand, hear them out and help solve their problems; they want you to cater to their needs.
Even when you go to raise funds for your company, you have to understand what the person on the other side is thinking or waiting to hear. What are their concerns? What are they looking for? Perhaps they are looking to make a small (say $50,000) but long term investment, and that they want to be involved to help the business grow. If you can figure this out in advance, then you will be able to pitch better and grab their attention. So before you start reaching out to other stakeholders, it is best to understand them better, put yourself in their shoes and ask what is it that is important to them? What will you be looking for if someone was asking the same from you? Many entrepreneurs fail to do this and only think of what they want and not what the other party wants. It is best to have the right answers ready before they ask you the questions.
If you are take the time and prepare thoroughly beforehand, you will be able to make your case better. Whether you are marketing to a client, talking to your suppliers or pitching to an investor, the more prepared you are the more likely you will succeed. But do remember the previous lesson – you should not over prepare and delay starting. Entrepreneurs who figure the right balance will increase their chances of success (I will discuss this issue of thinking from the heart and not just from the head in a later lesson).