Recently, I heard the President and CEO of a local business tell me that he wanted to expand in new markets. In order to do that, he was in the process of hiring an ad agency. In my conversation with him, one thing became quite clear: He was not clear about what exactly the product would be, how it would benefit the customer and how it will stand out in the marketplace so that people will buy it and pay a decent price for it.
He was expecting the advertising agency to figure it out for him!
If the advertising agency knew the answers, it would be them reaping profits from their products, not the business owner. Let’s face it, as business leaders it is our responsibility to know the answers to these questions.
You see, there is simple law of business success we are violating when we let the outsiders do our thinking for us. It is this: Clear intentions produce clear results. The opposite is also true: Unclear intentions produce unclear results.
As hard as it may be, we must be clear about our products and services inside our own heads, not in the heads of an ad agency!
More specifically, we need to clearly be able to answer four questions:
- What business are we in?
- What do our customers get, specifically and precisely, by doing business with us?
- What makes us different from our competitors' products and services?
- Why should our potential clients believe in what we are saying?
The more clearly and precisely we can answer these questions, the clearer our sales and marketing efforts will be. The clearer we are about these four questions, the higher our sales will be and the higher we will be able to charge for our products and services. Ultimately, the impact of such clear thinking will be on our financial statements, where it will show up as higher revenues and sustained profits.
Granted, finding answers to these questions often is not easy. It requires some structured, disciplined thinking. That's why I will be writing a series of articles to walk you through these four questions step-by-step. They are meant as a set of guideline you can follow to do this kind of structured thinking.
In the meantime, please take some time to ponder over these questions and jot down the first ideas that come to mind. You may even want to put your answers together in a short story-line or a narrative that you can share with others for feedback. You will be surprised at how much psychic energy you can unleash by answering such simple questions.