It’s a question for the ages: What is the true secret to business success?

Certainly we could wax intellectual about the importance of leadership, a viable niche, and making an amazing product or service.

But what’s really at the core of great business acumen is — as business experts around the world will extol — your customers.

After all, if you don’t know and understand your customer base, you can’t know their needs. And if you don’t know what they need, how can you expect to create a product or service that they’ll want to use?

How to Fall in Love With Your Clients: Step-by-Step

Step #1: Understand that your business isn’t about you.

Sounds wrong, right?

While it may not be easy to accept that your own business isn’t “about you,” this is exactly what you need to do to achieve success. Everything that your business does, from product manufacturing and hiring to advertising and e-commerce, must be centered around your customers and clients.

Step #2: Drop your obsession with your product or service.

Okay, you know your business isn’t “about you.” Now it’s time to realize that your obsession with your product or service could be what’s holding you back.

Of course you had to be obsessed at one point. After all, it’s the idea for your product or service that got you off the ground in the first place. You had to care for it, nurture it, support and love it, even. But now, it’s time to love your customer. Your business serves a purpose. Though you may think this purpose is to make you money, the true purpose of your product or service is to serve your customers.

Step #3: Figure out what it is your customers need.

So you’ve put your customers first — what’s next?

Well, it’s time to figure out what they’re looking for in your industry. What are they currently buying? How aren’t their needs being met by these products and services? What do they want to buy?

Do your research. Make charts and graphs. Ask them directly. Gather all of the information you possibly can in order to know your customers inside and out.

Step #4: Don’t get stuck in the mud. When all else fails, try falling in love with your ideal customer.

Steps 2 and 3 were meant to get you out of your comfort zone and detach you from narrow-minded thinking about your product or service. Now, it’s time to see if what you’ve been doing will work.

Have you changed your product or service to cater to your customers? Are they the sun around which you orbit?

And how’s that going?

If it’s working, great. But if it’s not, change your focus. In many cases, unbeknownst to you, you may have catered to the wrong customer. Perhaps your audience doesn’t have the funds to buy what you’re selling. In that case, you’ve got to halt everything and start falling in love with your ideal customer. Do not make the mistake of continuing to market to an audience who isn’t buying.

No single piece of business advice will guarantee you success in your industry. But learning to fall in love with your customers is always going to be the absolute best way to target your ideal audience and get them to buy from you. Follow these four steps to turn your business around and start putting customers first.