When asked what was the most important business question ever, management guru Peter Drucker answered: “What is our business?”

Defining your business is the most important task all entrepreneurs need to do in order to succeed in their venture.

Your business is not the product/service you offer. Your business is not the industry you are in.

That you sell dogs, is not your business; so do many others like you. That you make clothes, is not your business; so do many others like you. That you manage events, is not your business; so do many others like you.




Your business is the difference your company sets out to make in the world!

Your business is the difference your dogs make in the life of the customer. Your business is the difference your clothes make in the life of the customer. Your business is the difference made in the life of the customer as a result of your managing their event.

“What is your business?”

Your business is the PLUS FACTOR you bring into the life of the customer as a result of coming in contact with your products/services.

Your business is the problem you’re helping your customers solve; the need you are meeting and the change you are creating.

Your business is the value you are adding!

Here’s a perfect example of what Apple’s business is as described by Neil Patel, one of my favourite unusual entrepreneurs in his recent article on branding.

“Start with why”

Too often, companies start their branding journey by building a product they hope will change people’s lives. They’ve spent thousands of hours in research and development on an idea, but when they ship, the product flops.

Let’s look at Apple to learn why that happens. Instead of the typical what-how-why advertising message, Apple has always promoted the why first. They’ve promoted the reason behind why they exist. You can imagine them saying this:

“Apple exists to challenge the status quo. We emphasize beautiful design. And we make computer devices.”

That’s totally different than if they said, “Apple makes computer devices. They are beautifully designed. We exist to challenge the status quo.

One starts with the why…the other one ends with the why. This is one of the reasons that Apple is innovative year-after-year and is one of the biggest companies in the world.

Apple established a movement based on their why and created a following. They enhance the deal by creating beautiful and useful products… so sales rush in year after year.

The lesson is that when everyone involved – from the founder all the way down to the customer – knows exactly why your company exists, then you create a meaningful way for people to see your brand, instead of just another company wanting to make millions.”

Apple’s business is challenging the status quo!

Not making computer devices as many think. That comes second. The difference they are in business to make is to challenge the status quo and to help their customers do the same through the unusual products/services they create.

So again, what is your business?

Or put another way, what is your company’s why?

To answer this question, you have to go back to the very beginning –why did you become an entrepreneur? Why are you in business? Why do you exist?

The PLUS FACTOR is your purpose!

What are you in this world to change?

Remember, you are the driver of your business; if you find your purpose – a greater reason for living beyond survival, what your business is will become much clearer.

 

Photo credit: Laura Doss/Corbis