Big 5 Business Questions: The "What"

If you've been following along, yesterday we spoke about the 5 W's that influence your business. These are the top five questions you need to answer before you can properly plan how to achieve your strategies and goals.

Elephant in the Room

If I had to attribute a Big 5 animal to each question category, the "who" would be very much like the Lion. It's the chief question and king answer.

The "what" however, is more like the elephant. Big. Grey. Herded Masses of "what". This answer should assist with your products and service distinctions and orientation. Elephants are simple - they eat a lot, they drink a lot and they move a lot. So let's be careful when considering the "what" and your bottom line. 

The Most Important 'What'

When provided with a simple "what" challenge, the most common response I get is  "well, you mean what are my products/services?". While this is an important question, it isn't the most important.

Whatever the industry, the most important and relative "what" question a business owner can begin to answer is: "What does my product/service do for people?" This is the penultimate question, because it will help define and refine your products/services.

How Does Your "What" Make The World better?

The key here is that many a business owner has a good idea or business opportunity that usually addresses a gap in a market. Most people want to capitalize on that gap when they create their business. Most of those same people have a good first and/or second year and then end up with one HUGE elephant in their office. It could be a product with declining traction or a stale service that doesn't really add value to their customers. The next natural mistake for a lot of these business owners is to think of crafty ways to squeeze that elephant into areas of their business where it doesn't belong. (a la Microsoft Inc., or J.C. Penney!)

Don't think your customers don't know. They're smarter than you think. It's the equivalent of selling tins of tuna fish, but filling them with bits of cat food. you're going to leave a bad taste in someone's mouth - and you're going to regret it.

Don't force your elephants onto customers. In fact, don't box your product or service as an elephant at all. You're paying attention to only half of the "what"!  What if your "what" was also the watering hole, or the bush where elephants graze? Now you're talking on the ecosystem level, which leads into more nurturing "what" questions. 

 "How's that for a metaphysical paradox?!?" (A tidbit for lovers of Shrek: Forever After)

Business Tastes better Natural

Now we've finally moved from the zoo to the game reserve, where things are just "more natural".  Natural is always better -  Breast Milk, Fruit Juice, Ergonomic Keyboards - this is where your customers buy in. Think of services like iCloud from Apple Inc., or Google Apps for Business. Think about how these two services provide an ecosystem and subsequent products that serve to better people's lives.

Your Business Ecosystem

Next, think about how you can take your HUGE elephants and create long lasting herds that thrive year in and year out in a healthy ecosystem. That's how you get adaptation and evolution - principles that create longevity and survival.

If you're stuffing your elephant into someone's lounge, you're missing the mark.

If you find yourself battling to create an ecosystem for your business, then contact us - it's what we love to do.