If I asked you that question, how would you answer? I’m an accountant, I help my clients with their financial accounts or I’m a website designer, I design websites for my clients. We tend to offer up answers based on the function we perform rather than the required output the client is looking for.
The question arises because I was looking through some old marketing books, published back when the world was in black and white. The question jumped out at me because of its relevance in today’s marketplace.
That’s because the business we perceive that we’re in might not be the business we’re actually in.
As an example, if I was a manufacturer of “bits” for a drill, am I in the business of manufacturing drill bits or in the business of making holes. The decision I make has a massive impact on how I market my business, how I invest in my business and how I judge my competition.
In fact I’d argue that this question is even more relevant today because of the power of the internet. Back in the day we knew exactly who our competitors were, we knew our audience and target market and the chances of being surprised by anything they did was pretty slim.
Today, our competitors can enter our markets from left field perhaps with the added advantage of no historic baggage or expensive infrastructure (think Air bnb). Understanding what market you are actually in is critical for your survival.
So going back to my original question perhaps rather than helping your client with their financial accounts you’re in the business of improving the clients ROI whilst minimizing their costs. Rather than designing websites for your clients you’re in the business of finding the best way for your client to promote their business through the content they create.
Take time to sit back and really understand what business you’re in, it could pay dividends.