This quote from a WordPress.com customer caught my eye recently:

It just really helped me to solidify what I really want my business to be. I don’t need this big huge gigantic “American dream” of the million-dollar business. It made me really realize what I want for my business — which is I always want to have a hand in it.

It came as part of our ongoing research into learning more about what our customers need. The part that surprised me the most? “I don’t need this big huge gigantic “American dream” of the million-dollar business.”

One can assume that all small business owners want wild success. I did. But this person said they wanted to help own that success. They didn’t say, “I need to own everything before I make a move.” As a designer, that means to me that I need to make useful things that let my customers have a part in that usefulness.

Other findings from our research support this, and caused me to think deeper about what to “have a hand in it” means. We know small business owners want help with busy-work and jobs because they need to get done to put food on the table. They told us that they see their website as only one part of their path to success. Like a partner in, but not the linchpin to their success.

Small businesses are complex systems that are often run by one person. More happens beneath the surface than we might think. They want to find more levers to influence positive change within their business. We have to create those useful levers for them within our products.

Image by Annie Spratt.

Posted by David A. Kennedy

I work as a Theminator (that's my official title) at the ever-awesome Automattic. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ftw.

One Comment

  1. >Being a partner vs being THE linchpin.

    This is a good modern product psychology to follow given how consumers have access to SO many other possibilities where they can mix and match. Ideally to become one of the top five partners is a decent goal; instead of being THE ONLY partner.

    The apps that we put on our home screen (before any extra swipes) are those basic partners.

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