What’s a good customer and how do we get more of them?

Apart from making money, what do you love about working for yourself?

Work Smart Not Hard Tip No. 27 in a series written for Indie Cambs.

The main reason most people start a small business is freedom. You get to be your own boss, not answerable to anyone, choose the type of work you do, choose the place and times you work, choose the type of customers you want to work with and the impact you have on the world.

AI is already starting to have the same effect that electricity did when it became widely available – we don’t sit at our desks and say “How are we going to use electricity today?” and pretty soon we won’t think about AI either, it will just be there, doing things we don’t need to do any more, so in theory, we should have more time to do the things we really love.

A lot of small business owners say that the thing they love most in their business is their customers or clients. They get energy from being part of the support network that affects their customers, whether that’s providing something that puts a smile on their faces or something that has a direct impact on how they do their work or live their lives.

So, if AI frees up the time you spend doing things you don’t like, how will you use it?

Let’s back up a bit …

The changes coming are unstoppable. They will not only change how we run our businesses but how society works and how we all relate to each other. If we embrace them and plan for them, we can use them to create a much fairer, happier, and more prosperous society.

If relationships with customers are a big part of what we love about our businesses how can we use these changes to make that relationship stronger? AI will reduce the cost of many things, especially goods and labour. Many transactions will be automated and so the reasons customers interact with us will change too.

What might it mean for you to think of people less as consumers and more as participants in the work you do? Beyond simply transacting with them, what sort of relationship could you have?  Instead of just selling to them could you take a step back and ask what impact you’d like your business to have on the world, and then how people can join in and help you do it?

If each business is an isolated unit the possibilities are limited but if all Indie businesses collaborate to create a strong culture that people feel part of, involved in, and a valued member of, the possibilities are endless. Strong human connections are the thing that will be valued most when so much is automated.  How would it feel to have fans of Indie businesses wanting to support the imopact we all have on the world?

What do you think? Are you ready to embrace the changes that are coming? Are you excited about the possibilities of working in a different way with your customers? I’d love to know what you think!

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