What business are you in?

This is the time of year that business plans for the new year are already formed, or at least are in process. Therefore, it may be a good reminder to ask yourself the question of, “What business am I in?” It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that your answer has nothing to do with making a profit. Obviously you will be out of business if you don’t. Profit is a result of when we answer the question correctly.

Over the years I have wrestled with this question, but have discovered a simplistic answer. For me, “the purpose of business is to create a customer and to satisfy a human need.”

As you review your plan, I suggest you put it through the filter of addressing the following:

It is not about your product/service. The business is not defined by it’s name. It is defined by the want the customer satisfies when he/she buys the product/service. The mission and purpose of every business, should be to: satisfy the customer. We need to be reminded to look at the business from the customer and market’s point of view.

How you define your business will help answer the question. The consumer, that is, the ultimate user of a product/service—is ALWAYS the customer. In most cases we have two customers–external and internal (employees). In both cases, wants and needs must be satisfied for a positive outcome.

This may be the most important question, yet it is often overlooked because we assume we know the answer. We need to remember the customer never buys a product. By definition, the customer buys the satisfaction of a want–bottom line–they BUY VALUE.

Never lose sight of the importance of staying connected to your customers, asking questions, listening, and making sure you continue to deliver value.

I do realize this information is pretty basic for most of us. However, I have learned over the years, never forget the basics. Hopefully this will
serve as a good reminder as you craft your plan for the new year.

I am wishing you and you loved ones a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.