To Give Your New Business a Leg Up, Think Like a Customer

BlogHer Original Post

If you're starting a business as part of your career reinvention, the best thing you can do is think like a customer.

"You have to live their life. You have to get as close to that customer as you can," says Deborah Hopkins, chief innovation officer at Citi and once hailed by Fortune as the country's second most powerful woman in business.

Spend time with customers to find out what makes them happy, scared or anxious, Hopkins explains in this installment of Kaplan University's Visionary Voices video series. "You always get interesting information," she says.

Then, when you're thinking about delivering your product or service to your customers, ask yourself: "Am I fixing a problem, creating economic value or serving society?" she says.

Choosing a Business

Still deciding what kind of business to start? Take a broad view. "Try different things," Hopkins says. "Get involved in different kinds of projects, because you may be surprised. You may find out it was something you always talked about when you were seven."

Watch the video to hear more of what Hopkins says about pleasing customers, starting a business and tapping into the wisdom of the crowd:


Kaplan University provides a practical, student-centered education that prepares individuals for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission ( It serves more than 53,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 11 campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and Maine, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.


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