Do You Really Know Your Business?

By Stuart Muir and Dr. Ivan Misner

Much of the credit for this podcast goes to Dr., Ivan Misner.  Ivan is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer of the largest and most successful referral marketing organization, BNI.

One of the podcasts I was listening to this morning was BNI podcast 450: How Well Do You Know Your Business? The good news is that you don’t need to be a BNI Member (there are many other reasons why you should) to listen to these podcasts.  If you wish to subscribe and get great weekly business advice from Ivan and his guests. Click Get Podcast Alerts and add your email address.

We have clients who are starting or buying a new business.  Many of our clients have been in business for a number of years.  Perhaps they think they know their business well.  Their greatest threat might not be their competitors but their complacency.  The world is changing and so are your industry, competitors, team members, customers and prospects.

Whether you are just starting or have been running your business for years, there are three business basics that you need to define and articulate on a regular basis:

  1. Who are your target markets? Be as specific as possible.  Define your ideal clients and what challenges you help them with.  There are a couple approaches we use to help our clients with this.  One is building personas or avatars of your ideal clients.  This technique can be powerful for those starting their business as well as established entrepreneurs.  We help businesses with existing clients identify their spectrum of current clients by profitability so they can craft their offers and operations to appeal to their high margin prospects and not spend resources dealing with low margin / high maintenance customers.
  2. What are your core competencies that support your clear and unique value proposition?   What Realtor do you know who does not say they stand for trust, honesty, integrity, professionalism and the highest level of customer service?  Perhaps you do.  Perhaps you are better than other real estate professionals in these table stakes that any buyer, seller or investor would want?  What different core competency, skill, processes or systems do you use that makes it obvious to your prospects and clients that positions you better by these measures than your competition?  Better yet, once you have identified your ideal client, what unique capability do you use to deliver delight to them?
  3. Who are your direct and indirect competitors?  Direct competitors are easier to find through research we conduct or teach our clients to conduct through secondary and primary research. Identifying  Indirect competitors requires you to step back and walk a mile in your ideal client’s shoes.  Did Blockbuster think that their competitors were other video rental stores or this little startup called Netflix that mailed DVDs to people?  What taxi company thought their competitors were other taxi companies, public transit and trains? Care washes compete with each other, car detaining shops and also with companies like Canadian Tire who make it easy for people to wash their cars at home.

There are many initiatives you can take to improve your business.  If you don’t have a grasp on these basics, you may be wasting money on website design, Search Engine Optimization, signage, social media and Google AdWords.  Let us know when we can help you with any of these business basics.