You know what you do BUT do you know what business you’re in?

What business are you in?  How often do you get asked this question and more importantly, how do you answer it?

If you are looking to grow and improve your business you need to think very carefully about how you answer this.  The great Aussie habit is to pigeon hole ourselves and, without even realising it, miss many opportunities.  You may not know it but by saying “I’m a ……………..” multiple opportunities may be walking out the door.

Let’s use a couple of examples to explain this.

  1. A stranger walks up to you at a party and says “so what do you do?” and you reply “I’m an accountant”.  You have a nice chat and head off.  Unbeknown to you this stranger is about to receive a $5M inheritance and has never had money like this in his life, so is desperately seeking someone to help with this concern.  If you answered the question “We’re specialists in helping people and business create a secure financial future”, how would the conversation change?  Would that create intrigue?  Would the stranger want to ask some questions?  Is it possible you’ll see the stranger next Thursday in your office as a client rather than a stranger?  YES, you do accounting work, you do investment management and you look after self managed superannuation funds but WHAT BUSINESS ARE YOU IN?
  1. Your business sells photocopiers and installs them.  One day during an installation one of your team members is having a regular conversation with the receptionist who asks “How long have you been doing this?”  The installer replies “3 years”.  A polite conversation happens and the installer leaves.  Compare that to the answer “for the last 3 years I’ve been working within this business of providing document retention systems”.  The receptionist is pricked by this and asks “So could you help us store all our old records out in the shed?”  As a business providing document retention systems, whilst you don’t currently do it, you might have just stumbled onto an opportunity that fits within your business model.  You could possibly discover that a number of your current clients would like the same service, maybe they want the storage to be paperless or on line, who knows where it ends?  You don’t have to take every opportunity, but discovering opportunity provides choice and potential to strengthen your business model.

So ask yourself “What business am I in?”  There are thousands of electricians, concreters, computer repairers, chemical suppliers and handymen.  Look hard at your business – what do you do so well that sets you apart?  What problem do you solve?  What itch do you scratch?  See your business in a different light and be amazed at how others will then view you and your business.

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