An organisation creates value by satisfying the needs of users (customers, shareholders, employees, communities etc). In return users give organisations what they need (money, investment, commitment, support etc.). However, if asked, most organisations would struggle to list their users’ needs (try it — can you or your colleagues list the three main needs of your users?).

Often, the larger the organisation or the more money being spent on a project the less likely it is that anyone has asked the simple question: what is the user’s need? They will be able to answer what the organisation needs (X% ROI) but not what user needs their product/service/project is satisfying.

Unless you are a monopoly supplier of a utility service like electricity, water or infrastructure users don’t need what you’re selling. They will have a choice, such as a rival offering (a better car) or substitutes (a taxi, ride-share, public transport). Your need to sell them something is exactly that — your need — don’t confuse this with your users’ need.

Your job is to ‘take the user perspective’ — see things from their vantage point, figure out what they need from where they are and work out to offer them that. How you do this is up to you — because the user is less likely to care about how once they have chosen your product/service to satisfy their needs.

So, if you can’t easily list who your users are and what they need then you’re probably wasting a lot of time and resources doing things that don’t matter. This is fine if everyone else in your market is doing this as well. But when an Amazon or an Alibaba — a competitor that focuses on meeting your users’ needs better —you could be in big trouble. So, start focusing on your users’ needs today and make them focus for everything you do.

If you’d like some guidance for doing this request our FREE ‘Getting Started with Real-Time Strategy’ workbook, here.