What Business Are You Actually In?

When two people meet for the first time, one of the most commonly asked questions is, “So, what do you do?” Almost without fail, the person on the receiving end of this question will either give their title or talk about the product or service they provide. From a sales and marketing perspective this type of response is uninspiring and will rarely influence action. According to author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, the reason for this is because “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Every decision we make is based on emotion first and then rationalized with logic second. This is especially true when it comes to making purchase decisions. When someone walks into a Home Depot or Lowes to buy a ¼ inch drill bit, they don’t actually want the drill bit. They want the ¼ inch hole. Their purchase isn’t about the product or features, it’s about their need to solve a problem or their desire for a specific outcome. The holeis the emotional need, and the drill bitis the logical solution.

Defining the business you’re actuallyin has to be about more than knowing the who, what, when and where of the product or service you offer. You must understand, and be able to communicate, what it means to use that product or service and why it matters.

The importance of this fact isn’t just isolated to interactions with your customers. It’s equally important when hiring and leading employees as well. Leaders who connect their employees’ daily tasks to a grander purpose stand apart from average leaders. They give them something to work toward that’s bigger than a paycheck.

To better define the business you’re actually in, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  1. What is the value or benefit my customer receives from using my product or service?
  2. What is the problem my product or service will solve and/or prevent?
  3. What happens to my customer if my product or service fails?
  4. Based on my answers to these questions, what business am I actually in?


By defining your business, product or service based on the value and benefit it delivers instead of its features, you will not only better connect with those you mean to serve, but you will stand out from your competition as well. So, if you’re feeling inspired and are ready to take your business to the next level, give me a shout. All it takes is one discussion to start down the path to extraordinary results.

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