We have all felt empathy at one time or the other in life. It could have been through offering a friend support through trying time or helping out in a difficult situation. We did this because we felt empathy for them.
Empathy is one of the best qualities a fashion entrepreneur can have in growing their brand. It is a vital soft skill for maintaining lasting success in business. With it, entrepreneurs can connect better with employees, investors and customers on a new level.
But, what exactly is empathy?
What is Empathy?
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It is being able to imagine yourself in the situation of another, experiencing their emotions, ideas, or opinions. With it, you can put yourself in their shoes and share their feelings.
Empathy helps you show everyone that is associated with your business that their interests are a priority to you. It makes them see that their voice matters and the goas of your business are for their benefit as well as yours.
Without empathy in dealing with employees, investors, and customers it’ll be hard for you to keep your business afloat. Remember that empathy is not sympathy.
Why is it Important?
As an entrepreneur, you need empathy to help you build intimate relationships and connect with your customers. It helps you understand your customers’ needs better to teach you how to approach their issues in a more heartfelt way. Some of the other advantages empathy offers your brand are;
1. It Helps You Define the Right Problem to Solve
With empathy, you are able to identify issues and build an understanding of how people are affected by them. This helps you identify what problems are common in the fashion industry and now what to focus your business on.
With this, you can create a solid vision for your fashion brand and build a purpose others can identify with.
2. It Helps Increase Sales, Loyalty, and Referrals
The key to making sales is understanding your customers’ needs. To do this, you have to reflect on their fears, desires, and pain points which shows you how to help them.
When your customers see that you understand what they are going through and are dedicated to helping them solve it, they become loyal to you. This loyalty then leads to lots of strong referrals coming from them.
To bring this to life, you have to make sure that empathy is part of your company culture. Let it penetrate every area of your business.
3. It Accelerates Productivity and Innovation
Truly understanding your customer and their pain points drives you to become innovative. Because you want to solve their problems, you are constantly searching for new ways to do things.
Also, when everyone in your fashion brand has empathy as a trait, they become more productive and innovative. The same drive that pushes you will push them too to aim for the goals of your company.
4. It Gives You Greater Competitive Advantage and Market Value
Your brand story is what draws customers to you. Your brand experience is shared by both you and your customers. When you develop an idea of how customers respond to, interact with, and push your brand in new directions, you will know how to maintain a message they can relate with.
To learn more about connecting with your clients, click on the image below;
How to Develop Empathy as a Fashion Entrepreneur
1. Talk to People
Take out the time to talk with your customers and employees to understand their view of your business. Your employees relate with your customers and your customers bring in the money. These two sets of people are important to your business so you need to understand their experience.
Taking out the time to empathise with customers and employees give you valuable insights to help you grow your business. Constantly let them know that you care and build that rapport with them. Ask them about their interests, pay attention to their efforts and praise them when they’re doing well.
Also, apart from your customers and employees, find ways to strike up conversations with other people. Understand their reservations as buyers and what motivates them to make a purchase.
2. Listen Actively
Make it a point to listen to your customers and employees. Not passive listening, but active listening. You’re listening not just to their words but also their facial expressions and body language.
Do this without interrupting them and give them your full attention. The more you listen to them, the more you are able to understand how they feel and put yourself in their shoes.
Walk in their shoes a bit through what you hear and try to understand their point of view. Understand where they are coming from and the things they go through.
3. Develop Your Communication Skills
A fashion entrepreneur that cannot communicate effectively cannot build a great brand. Practice verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Things like body language, tone, and voice are important.
Spend time with empathic people and not what they do. Afterwards, apply this to your communication with customers, employees, and investors.
When your communication skills are topnotch, you will better be able to get information out of your people. What you get from them will help you to better build empathy in yourself.
4. Make People Your Priority
In running a fashion business, it is very easy to focus more on making a profit than on the people around you. You need to turn it around and make people your priority.
As you put them in the place of priority, you begin to understand them and their needs better. Consciously put your focus on your employee, customers and investors and watch empathy grow in you.
5. Cater to Your Customers’ Needs
“It is very vital to speak to the needs of your clients. Focus on their problems, not your solution.”Onyinye enyioha, Founder, totAlView media
To build empathy in yourself as a fashion entrepreneur, focus more on your customers’ problems. Focus on what they need and create it for them. The more you do this, the more you build empathy in yourself.
Cater to their needs to give them the experience they want. As you do this and make catering to your customers’ needs at the centre of your fashion brand, you’ll see yourself grow more in empathy.
Building empathy in yourself as a fashion entrepreneur does not happen overnight. It takes consistent deliberate effort and lots of practice but you can do it!