As entrepreneurs, we know our products and services.  After all, our plan is to sell these to solve our customer’s problem(s).  We know how our products work.  We are experts at the services we provide.  We are enthusiastic about what we sell and that is a good thing.  But when it comes to marketing to customers, pitching to bankers or investors, negotiating with suppliers and other components of business, entrepreneurs are often looking out the wrong window.

Look at the diagram below.   The center is a courtyard (your business) and the sides are windows looking out over your business.

Most new business owners are looking out the “Owner” window.   As we interact with others, it is very important to remove ourselves from our window and look out the window of the other person.  So, for example, if you are speaking with a banker or investor, you should portray a person who is fiscally responsible, knows their numbers, and is trustworthy.  If you are speaking with a customer, your objective is to leave them wanting to go tell ten of their friends what a great product / service you offer and how it solved their problem(s).

While this may seem intuitive, listen to yourself during conversations and ask yourself afterwards .. “which window was I looking out”?

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Dan Gillingham is a retired executive, business owner and is currently volunteering as a small business counselor and mentor with SCORE

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