Answer two important questions about your company, and you’re on the way to an effective business growth strategy. They’re not difficult questions to ask. Each one is a single word.
Do you understand why your customers are or should buy from you? It can be a complex journey that gets them to you. You have to understand each step, and what caused it.
You’ll do a bit of identity switching. You must think like a customer instead of like a business owner. Measurement tools provide customer information at a basic level. You need to explore further. To understand customer-buying behavior, you must ask “why?”
Few people have explained the importance of this better than Simon Sinek. Watch his TED talk, to understand why Simon tells entrepreneurs, “People don’t buy what you do. People buy why you do it.”
Do you have a clear vision and goal?
Can you explain in a single sentence how your business will satisfy customers? Amazon can. “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
You’ll answer how you’ll satisfy customers by creating vision and mission statements.
Mission statements. Vision statements. Aren’t they both kind of the same thing?
Start with a mission statement. It should validate that you understand why you will matter to customers. It’s based in the present. Then move on to the “vision” statement. It’s about your future. It’s about what you will become if you succeed with your “why.”
Then merge them.
How does that statement feel to you? It should fill you with passion. As Mark Cuban says, “Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.”
Ready for the plan
Strategic planning identifies what you want to do with your business. It’s the “why” part of the equation. Once you’ve determined this, you can consider tactics. That’s the “how” part of the equation.
Any road will take you there if you have no idea where you’re going. With a strategic plan in hand, you’ve got a roadmap.
Successful business owners formalize this planning process as a written document. It creates a focus, and a reference point, to measure progress. Whole Foods founder John Mackey explains that without it, “a great strategy without a compelling purpose is like a beautiful highway that doesn’t lead anywhere that people want to go.”
Your company’s OS
An operating system (OS) is the collection of instructions a device needs to function. Your computer can’t start without it. Your business needs one, too, if you want it to start up and succeed.
Load the answers to these two important questions into your company’s OS. They’re upgrades. They’ll improve the way you work. They’re supposed to feel slightly unattainable. Google co-founder Larry Page believes this is the pathway to success. “Always work on something uncomfortably exciting.”
We’ve been helping our customers with their “why” and “how” for almost 40 years now. Check out these upgrades to your company’s OS.