Know Your Customer

Find Problems and Iterate to Solve Them

In entrepreneurship classes, I learned about customer discovery. Most of the lectures were geared towards starting an entirely new business, iterating on a product until people wanted to buy it. But, few people focus on their customers for existing business. When you are talking with current or potential customers, you can find pain points or even business opportunities.

As a small business owner, it is important to know customers. By understanding their needs and preferences, you can tailor products or services to better meet their specific needs, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. If a customer mentions how other vendors didn’t answer their phones, that’s a way to differentiate your business.

In our “On Compounding” post, we talked about how little actions matter. The continuous improvement of your business and self will lead to great results. Speak to your customers, ask your employees and coworkers to ask for feedback. You don’t need to build a new thing for each customer or change your business based on one client’s needs, but you will find ways to improve. You might even find out you can raise your prices.

Eric Jorgenson’s podcast hosted Brett Kopf, founder of Omella and Remind. Brett’s superpower is customer discovery and truly finding their needs. While both of his companies are venture backed startups, the message applies to any business. I highly recommend listening to this masterclass and entertaining story.

This can be a team effort or something you devote a few hours a week to. Don’t lead your discovery conversations with ambiguous questions. Come with questions in mind and gauge their reaction. Another place to get feedback is from doing customer support. You would be surprised how many questions or issues are dealt with 10+ times and no one thinks to fix the issue at hand.

Knowing your customers is essential for the success of a small business. By understanding their needs and preferences, the business can provide better service, build loyalty, and increase sales.

Thanks to Everest Brady for his help, writing, and research in assembling this week’s newsletter.


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This Week on Think Like an Owner

‎Think Like an Owner on Apple Podcasts
This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital. Episodes released weekly. Learn more at

Our guest on this episode is Ayo Phillips. You’ll remember Ayo’s episode last March, episode 56 titled “Small Company Firefighting”, where Ayo walked us through all the different challenges he was facing in his apartment turnover services business, Perfect Surface. Since then he sold the business a couple of months ago and we wanted to hear all about the progress he made in the business to professionalize and prepare it for sale.

Ayo and Alex talk about building from a turnaround position, coaching replacements and developing a management team, the process of selling your business, and his reflections on industry selection.

This episode Q&A features Matt Ryba, Vice President of Oakbourne Advisors, answering the question, “what does it mean to get your 401k benchmarked and why should a business do it?” Oakbourne isan independent retirement plan consulting firm that helps small companies design and implement great retirement plans for their teams.  We are joined by Matt Ryba to discuss the most common issues CEOs run into with retirement plans. Whether you already have a 401(k) in place or are looking to start one for your team, please reach out to learn more about how Oakbourne can set your people up for success in retirement at

This Week in SMB Twitter

Think Like an Owner is sponsored by:

Ravix Group – Ravix Group isa fraction CFO, outsourced accounting, and HR consulting firm serving small and large businesses alike. Whether you or someone you know is getting started, searching to buy a business, or building out an organization, Ravix will help on the journey. To learn more about Ravix Group, head to their website and tell them Think Like An Owner sent you.

Hood & Strong, LLP – Hood & Strong is a CPA firm with a long history of working with search funds and private equity firms on diligence, assurance, tax services, and more. To learn more about how Hood & Strong can help your search, acquisition, and beyond, please email one of their partners Jerry Zhou at [email protected]

Oberle Risk Strategies– Oberle is the leading specialty insurance brokerage catering to search funds and the broader ETA community, providing complimentary due diligence assessments of the target company’s commercial insurance and Employee benefits programs. If you are under LOI, please reach out to learn more about how Oberle can help with insurance due diligence at Or reach out to the CEO, August Felker, directly at [email protected].

Oakbourne Advisors– Oakbourne is an independent retirement plan consulting firm that helps small companies design and implement great retirement plans for their teams.  Whether you already have a 401(k) in place or are looking to start one for your team, please reach out to learn more about how Oakbourne can set your people up for success in retirement at

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