You might already know today’s guest Ryan Levesque as the author of the bestselling book Ask. Ryan is an entrepreneur, CEO and digital marketing expert, and has a brand new book out called Choose designed to help people start their businesses successfully.
In this conversation, we talk about how the questions we ask ourselves can change our lives, and where to start when you’re looking to start your own business. We’ll explain how asking the right questions of the right people will help to show you that you’re on the right track, decide what market to go into, and even improve your personal life.
WHY CHANGE YOUR QUESTIONS?
- Making better choices begins by thinking about and reflecting on the questions you ask yourself that lead to those choices
- The brain naturally thinks in the form of questions—every day you are asking yourself a series of questions e.g. what should I wear? Why did I do that? Was that stupid? What should I eat?
- When you change the questions you ask, you can change your life
WHERE TO START
- Ryan’s expertise lies within surveying entrepreneurs & people who are looking to start a business and become their own boss
- One of the questions I see people ask a lot is: what type of business should I start? What should I create? What should I sell?
- If we reframe that question and instead of asking what, ask who? Who are you going to serve? Because you do not have a business until you have one thing: a customer (not a website, license or product)
- Abraham Lincoln quote: “If I had 6 hours to chop down the tree I’d spend the first 4 sharpening my ax.” In this context, you should be spending the first 4 hours analyzing the questions you want to ask.
- Questions to understand your market, your audience at a deep emotional level, the questions you want to ask are very counterintuitive:
- Ask people what they want so you can give it to them
- Henry Ford: “If I’d asked people what they wanted they would have told me after horses.”
- Steve Jobs: “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
- Statements like that ring true because they are: we don’t know what we want.
- One of the information questions we’re really good at answering relates to our past behavior e.g how much you paid for your last backpack, which is a better indicator of what you might spend in future on a backpack
- You’re asking people to access different parts of their brain: speculating on future vs. looking at past behavior
- When you get better at asking better questions, you can make better choices: in the business you start, the products you sell, in your personal life and relationship
HOW TO ASK BETTER QUESTIONS
- Ask yourself: I’m asking this question—but is this the right question?
- Just this first step, being aware of what you’re asking, is helpful—people usually rush to answer without thinking it through
- Certain questions in certain circumstances
- You can’t just ask people: what should I create, what should I sell? You can ask people about a challenge or frustration they’re experiencing in an area their life e.g. what’s your biggest challenge you’ve run into in the past while improving your memory?
- Learning to pay attention to the right type of responses: if you pay attention to people who give you detailed responses, you’re uncovering a segment of your market who is most likely to buy from you when you create the product
- If you ask a question and don’t get a response, this is helpful feedback, because it tells you that you haven’t hit a nerve yet, you haven’t asked the right question
- When you strike the right nerve you know it—people will pour out answers
- Book mentioned: Choose by Ryan Levesque
- In Ask Ryan talked about the questions to ask your market to understand what it is that they want, what it is you should create, and the messaging you should use to describe those products
- In writing that book, Ryan overlooked teaching people about the single most important decision they need to make: before you ask, you need to choose who you’re going to ask
- Choose is about deciding what market to go into, what niche to going into, and who is your who
- People in crisis often ask: what do I need to do? What if you ask: who do I need to be now at this moment? Who do I need to speak to? Who has gone through what I’m going through?