With inspirations such as Apple and Facebook starting from garages and dorm rooms and becoming multi-billion dollar companies, having a business that grows to success is a now a common dream. Approximately 12 new businesses are born each minute of every month in the hopes of achieving success.

But with all great things comes risk. Statistics also show 50% of small businesses fail within the first year. However, there is a way to steer your business toward half-full, rather than half-empty.

It starts with taking your consumers into consideration.

Forbes states one of the top reasons entrepreneurs fail is because they don’t listen to their customers. Are you?

Here are three questions for you that will help improve your business practices by considering your customers more effectively.

Listening to your audience
Are you marketing to the right crowd?
Once you’ve decided upon a business plan, there are two things that come to mind – what makes your idea stand out, and who it will allure. From there, you build your business website appealing to that demographic.

But, if your business does not takeoff as quickly as you may have thought (and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t, after all Rome wasn’t built in a day), you’ll want to ensure your marketing efforts are not going unnoticed, and that you’re appealing to the right crowd. And for this, there’s website analytics.

Investing time into site analytics and marketing tools, such as Google Analytics and SiteWit, will enable you to find out key details about your audience, including:

  • Whether they’re new or returning visitors
  • How they landed on your website (social media, search engine, direct link, etc.)
  • The keywords they used to find your website
  • The country from which they’re reaching you

You can also create personas for your customers detailing who they are, the challenges they face and how your business solves a problem for them. Then start marketing to your actual audience, or start brainstorming ways to gain the attention of the audience you aim to please.

Are you appealing to their interests?
Once you’ve found out who your customers are, the next stage of the game is determining where they’re interests lie. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, do you know if your site visitors more privy to weight lifting or weight loss tips? Do they prefer video content or a step-by-step blog posts? Is an ebook full of recipes something they would be interested in?

A great way to verify if you’re aiming your content in the right direction is by creating and dispersing online surveys. Easy-to-use tools such as Survey Monkey provide you with the ability to send online surveys directly to their users through email marketing campaigns, or even apply them directly to your business website. Once your surveys have been collected, easily analyze your data within the online dashboard to gain insight on the content your audience cares about.

Do you leave room for opinion?
Yelp and Google have created great avenues for businesses to gain traction through reviews, and having a high rating is a good as gold. Seeking out the opinion of your customers through reviews can help your business in two ways:

  1. A valued opinion – As a business owner, you know that running a company cannot be smooth-sailing 100% of the time. For the days where things are running a little shy of perfect, giving customers the opportunity to evaluate your business will give you something to work toward. Acknowledging these criticisms will make for a better business, and shows your customers that you value their opinions.
  2. Higher credibility – Did you know that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? And 44% of customers decide which businesses they frequent based on text reviews (which is 30% higher than the amount of people who base decisions on reviews from friends and family).

When it comes down to it, your customers are the livelihood of your business, and you want your business to better your customers’ livelihood. Consider it as a positive and symbiotic relationship between the two. Happy customers are one of the biggest determining factors between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail. When making business decisions, ask yourself: What can I do to more effectively consider my customers?