The ancient greek maxim “Know thyself” is one that you should apply to your business. It is too easy to think that you understand your small business when really you have just become familiar with it.
It is for a good reason that while a child grows they question. To question is one of the most powerful tools you have and it is built into every one of us. When you stop questioning you stop growing.
The following 5 questions are an encouragement to start growing again.
What is the underlying need or desire your customer has and how do you satisfy it?
What you think you are selling to the customer often isn’t what they are buying. For example, Rolex may sell quality watches but what people buy is the feeling of success.
Many times people ‘buy with their hearts and justify with their heads’. Identify what the emotion is that your customer has and you have a significant key to your market. Some products/services remove anxiety e.g. insurance and medical checks while others provide excitement e.g. fun parks and holidays.
How do you create the value that your customer is buying?
What are the key tasks that create and support the value in your product/service? How efficiently are those tasks being completed?
What other tasks are being done that do not add anything to your customer’s experience? If the customer doesn’t want it in gold then don’t try to sell it to them.
Who is your ‘perfect’ customer and what niche market segment do they belong to?
Do not try to attract everyone to your offering – you don’t want them! Identify which customers are most profitable to you but make sure that you include all the costs of supporting each customer. Some customers look profitable until you include all of the time spent on them.
You must be as clear about who is not your customer as you are about who is! ‘The Pumpkin Plan’ by Mike Michalowicz is a good book on identifying and ‘growing’ the right customers as well as how to deal with the ‘wrong’ ones.
Where do you sell your product/service to your customers?
Are you using the right channels to get your product/service to the market? Where are your customers? Are they looking where you are advertising? Are they listening where you are talking?
Sometimes the market is found in unexpected places. For example, an older generation who did not grow up with computers have become the “Silver Surfers” and have found a distribution channel that suits them perfectly.
The right product at the right time but in the wrong place is a travesty.
Why are you in business?
Honestly revisit your original reasons for starting a business. Ask yourself whether you have been true to your personal vision and goals. If you wanted to make money – have you made any? If you wanted respect – how do people see you? If you wanted a challenge – what have you achieved?
Real passion sells because it is very hard to resist. However over time the passion you started with can take a hammering. So, if you have joined the walking dead it is time to wake up and start chasing your goals. If it means starting again – then start again. But whatever it takes – set your business free!
© Business Set Free Ltd 2013