Have you ever stood in a fuggy dojo with your hand in a vice grip while your knuckles are being examined by a sweaty Sensei? No?

Me neither.

It was a fellow karateka who pointed out that the red globes on the back of my hand were a telltale sign that I was striking the punch bag with the wrong part of my fist – apparently a sure way to break my wrist.

Easy mistake to make when your focus is on squashing a bug with the ball of your front foot, maintaining 70% of the weight on the back foot and keeping a nice vertical line while lunging forward from your starting kamai.

*shrugs*

But it got me thinking about what else isn’t in the right place. In business, I mean.

This week I had the opportunity to review a client’s website and give direction on making the text more customer friendly. It ticked all the right boxes except for one simple thing:

The focus was in the wrong place.

In business, the focus can either be on you, or your customer. If the focus is on you, you’re more likely to write website text that talks about your passion, your cleverness and your goals. Nothing wrong with that, except:

Your customer doesn’t care about you.

Your customer only cares about what you can do for them. They want to feel seen, heard and acknowledged. When you shift the focus to your customer, then you’re able to write about the people you serve: their problems, their aspirations, their goals. It’s a simple but powerful tool, made more effective with an in-depth understanding of your customer’s dreams, hopes, fears and desires.

For example, when someone wants to plan their once-in-a-lifetime bush safari, they’re probably saying to themselves “This trip is a big deal for me. I need someone to make this really special, reassure me I’m making the right choices and give me advice I can trust.” They’re probably not saying they want a travel company that endeavours to create treasured journeys, passionately lead by a dedicated team of exploration experts.

See what I mean?

Instead of this, the travel company could say,

  • “Want a safari experience you’ll remember forever? We can help you do that.”
  • “Get the bush experience you want. We’ll show you how.”
  • “Safari on your bucket list? Let’s make that happen.”

In the above examples – rough as they are – the focus is on the customer, which has the added benefit of making the tone of voice less pretentious. Now the travel company is speaking to a real person, not somebody’s English teacher.

Now you.

Take a critical look at your website, your bio, and other marketing materials and see if your focus is in the right place. Write to me and tell me what you find.

In the meanwhile, I’ll get on with fundamentals like finding the bow in my back leg and being careful not to come off my base when gently adding a rear hand punch that puts cherries in the right place.

Wish me luck.