Business success: vision vs insight

Business Management

Business success: vision vs insight

At some point in your career, it’s likely that you’ll come to the humbling conclusion that no, you are not, in fact, the next global visionary. And no, you will not be dictating the market, breaking new ground or driving stratospheric growth. But just because we aren’t all a Steve Jobs type, it doesn’t mean we can’t achieve great success or deliver fantastic products to our customers.

One thing that I’ve learned through my career is that success isn’t just based on vision, it is based on insight.

At Intuit, customer insights drive and inspire us, and I believe that is where our success comes from. We work really hard to get a deep understanding of our customers’ needs, desires and issues and then dedicate time to finding the solutions.

As a result, we deliver products and services that we know will delight because they’ve been designed by directly observing the needs of our customers.

We call this approach Design for Delight and it’s something I love sharing as I believe a customer-centric focus can truly help any business or entrepreneur succeed.

How Can You Design for Delight?

1. Develop deep customer empathy: To understand your users, spend time observing them as they work through a challenge – this will help you find the core problem or issue you need to address.  But don’t just stop at what customers tell you – look at their behaviour and try to uncover those insights that will help you exceed their expectations in the product or service you deliver.

2. Go broad and then narrow: Quantity over quality, that’s what I say! Well, at first. Try brainstorming or working with a myriad of stakeholders to gain as many different perspectives on an issue as possible. Once you have heaps of ideas, go back to the core issue and narrow in on the ideas that actually address this.

3. Experiment, quickly: We often labour over ideas to get them ‘just right’ before taking them to customers but sometimes it’s important to get some perspective before you put too much effort into an idea. So one thing you can do is to try getting out of the office and talking to customers and collecting data to measure interest. You’ll quickly find out what works and what doesn’t and can then adapt your approach until you nail it!

I think it’s fair to say that not all ideas or approaches you develop will be winners right off the bat, but the insights you gain from making mistakes are usually the ones that truly help you to succeed.

Our very own CEO, Brad Smith, recently talked about this exact topic in a great article he penned about what he learned from his $40 million mistake – now that’s a good one!

It would be great to hear what lessons you’ve learned from either your own mistakes or those of others so let me know your thoughts in the comments section here or join the conversation on Twitter via @QuickBooksAU or @ozdane (Brad Paterson).

Brad Paterson


Vice president & managing director of Intuit Asia Pacific.