Fast Company

Feeling the Pain, Understanding the Solution

People living today's work/life are busy — too busy, to be sure.

We've become too busy to talk to our neighbor. We've become seduced by the virtual experience. As we've become disconnected from our friends and family, we've lost access to what people actually need.

Yet business is all about understanding more than just what people need: business is about understanding people's pain — and then providing a solution to that pain. How can you understand that pain at the most basic level unless you talk to people?

That's what friends and neighbors are for. You can't run a business without friends all along your work/life way. Friends are sticky. Friends are difficult. Good friends tell you the bad and the good. Friends help you transform the bad into the good.

My good friends have taught me that people are motivated by pain. You may have had luck in business by understanding what people need, then satisfying that need. But that success will be illusory because it doesn't address what people care about most. Long-term success addresses people's pain. It is emotional or intellectual pain that creates a need for long-term solutions, and therein lies your opportunity for success.

Remember Steve Jobs? His success was predicated upon solving the pain caused by computers that were too complicated for most people to use. Apple succeeded because their products were intuitive for people who hated computers' complexity.

Learning about people's pain means that you need to have a sign on top of your head that you're always open for business, on both sides of your work/life. Realtors, proudly wearing their name pins, understand this intimately; they recognize that as you walk through your life you need to be a walking billboard "Open For Business," 24/7/365.

People sidestep success by making themselves so busy that they don't have time to deal with a business's key issues. Business that is convenient isn't going to be long lasting. "Busy-ness" doesn't equate with "business." You shouldn't be busy and not be solving problems.

Years ago we used to be busy with our neighbors; today we're busy doing things like running our children around to too many activities because we're afraid they might be missing something. We really are missing something. As we outsource everything, we're not facing up to challenges and creating our own solutions. Instead, today you hire somebody to teach your kid to ride a bike because you don't "have the time" or want to deal with the pain of seeing your child fall. That pain is part of learning, for both you and your child.  The lesson is that if you distance yourself from the pain of everyday life, you're distancing yourself from the information you need to succeed in your work/life. Relationships, whether with our families or our customers are built from working through the pain and trusting the outcome.

As you walk through your day slow down enough to see the pain — the information — that is all around you.

Take time to balance your work/life. Take time to see things. That's an important shift to make happen.  Otherwise you're not getting what you need to make good decisions for your business. Successful entrepreneurs work really hard and play really hard. Successful entrepreneurs are always open for business. So become the person who takes the time to learn what your friends, neighbors and family are saying. Feel their pain, and become a better business person for it.


A Women-Owned Business • www.csms-usa.com • Ramsey, N.J.

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