The Most Important Question: Why?

Feb 11, 2013

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By: Mike Green

The Most Important Question

Of all the questions you must answer when running a business, answering the question of “why” might be the key to success. Why do your customers buy from you? Why do they buy from you a second time? Why do your employees stay with you rather than find another job? Why, why, why. An honest answer to each of these questions can help you shape where your business needs to go.

External Focus

Why do your customers buy from you? Why do they buy from you a second time? We seem to always obsess over why they DON’T buy from us for one reason or the other, but we don’t normally spend enough time analyzing why they do buy. Is it because you are the only game in town? Or maybe because you chose a great location for your business? Both of these things are good as long as you realize your vulnerabilities. If you are winning business simply because of your location, you are setting yourself up for a competitor to swoop in and take some of your business away. Do customers buy from you because you are priced better? Or maybe because you have better service? These are areas where you can convince a customer to buy from you regardless of competition. People will drive past 10 burger joints to buy a value meal from McDonalds. Not because its the best tasting burger, but due to the perceived money saved. By understanding this principle, you’ll be able to refine your marketing message.

Internal Focus

Why do your employees stay with you day after day? Is it because you’re the only place in town who offers a paycheck? Certainly not. Do you create a work environment second to none? Are you investing in your team to ensure their and your future success? If the answer is yes, then you are well on your way. Are they staying with you because they don’t want to break out of the mediocrity and find a better job, either because they are lazy, or your business is “good enough”? If this is the case, be warned. You’ve got some work to do. Not only will you slowly lose your team, but your culture will suffer. Your product, service, and efficiency will be victimized because of your teams indifference.

The Big Problem

One of the biggest challenges to this philosophy is thinking that all the answers come from the top. For a small business, the owner is usually the one trying to answer this question, but ultimately has a hard time seeing the forrest through the trees. How to solve this? Enlist help. Not from “yes men”, not from those trying to constantly “impress you”, but those who’ll give you an honest answer. In order for this to take place, you’ll have to create the right environment of safety. You’ll have to be ready to hear things that are painful. If you are willing to do this, your business can grow at an incredible rate, and you’ll have a great team around you to share in your success.

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