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Challenging Your Perspectives

  • December 1, 2021
  • Written by Community Futures Meridian

In the first article this month, we talked about perspective being critical, in that our perspective defines our reality, but that it is just that, our reality, not THE reality. In this article, we ask you to challenge your perspective on a bunch of things. Like confronting our biases, challenging our perspective, the way we see things can be unsettling at first, but it is nevertheless a worthwhile, even valuable exercise.

Let’s first look at how you perceive your business. You are passionate and protective about what you sell. You are no doubt convinced that there’s not a whole you could do to improve it. From your perspective, you’ve done everything to make it perfect, and you are convinced that your customers and those who are yet to become customers will see things the same way—why wouldn’t they?

We all perceive things a certain way, and it takes a lot for us to change our perception of something. The challenge with perceptions is that they blind us to other options, to potential improvements. If you are willing to open your eyes and heart to alternative realities, you may find a whole new world of opportunity. Here are five exercises to help examine your product or service from a different perspective.

  1. Sit down with someone who would never purchase your product. For example, a child, a teenager, a senior, a mechanic, a professor, a politician, and ask them to describe your product, service, company. Keep a log of their observations.
  2. Sit down with your product or a brochure of your service and start asking why? Why is it this colour? Why is it packaged in this way? Why don’t we have a different model, version, plan? Why are the majority of your clients a certain age, gender, socio-economic group? Why don’t we offer … ?” Act like a five-year-old and keep asking why, why, why?
  3. Seek out a demographic who could use what you sell but don’t. This could be as wide as males or females, as narrow as people in their 30s, or couples with dual incomes and no kids. It doesn’t matter. Approach several people in the categories you choose and ask them what they think of the product or service. Encourage them to say what they like and don’t like, and ask you questions. Ask them why they wouldn’t be interested in purchasing. You might discover ways to redefine your product for a new market or create something new.
  4. Go across the street, figuratively or literally, and look at your business through your competitor’s eyes. What do they do differently, and why? What do they “see” that you don’t? How does their customer service differ from yours? More importantly, why? How do their customers differ from yours? Put yourself in their shoes—how do you think they perceive you? It will be difficult but do not project your perceptions onto what they might think.
  5. Carry out an extensive online search for whatever it is you sell. Look at everything that other companies do regarding the product, packaging, pricing, delivery, marketing, anything, and everything. Look at your industry from a new perspective. Imagine you are starting all over, shake off your current prejudices and start from a blank slate.

The quickest way a business can begin to lose market share is when they become complacent and accept the status quo as the only way to go. Dismiss the validity of what you see as reality and realize that it is only one reality of many. Open your mind to a world of possibilities, a world where there are many perspectives, all of which are important to the success of your business.

More in this category: « Removing Bias From Decision-Making

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