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Know Your Customer, Know Your Business

Steve Epner, President — the Startup Within

• competitive strategy • opinion / commentary • expert interview • Innovate for the Future • Simplfy Everything book • innovation

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Join Randy MacLean and Steve Epner, President of The Startup Within, as they discuss the importance of knowing exactly what business your company is in. Randy and Steve discuss Steve's book, Simplify Everything, Get Your Team from Do-Do to Done-Done, and particularly, what every business and executive should know to run a business well.

What business Are We In?

This may seem like a rhetorical question with an obvious answer, but if you delve deeper there are fascinating insights to be gained.

For instance, most executives are in the business of being part of an industry. They attend the same conferences as their competitors, use the same ideas, gather the same information, and copy the same processes. As Steve points out, this is a formula for average or below average performance. You are in the pack and will never gain a competitive advantage if you are not innovating and differentiating your business on something other than price.

Randy suggest that every executive take a look at the company mission statement. In fact, he suggests a simple statement that would be more effective than many that are in use, "We help our customers achieve or exceed their objectives."

The point is, if you focus on your customers, as opposed to who you are, you can be more successful. This is what the customers want. Make your business relevant and important by figuring out what they want and need.

Don't Be Afraid to Change Your Business Model

Once you know what business you're in, you can evaluate all new ideas against it. Your strategy is not just what you do, it's what you don't do. If you are simply doing everything, you can't be successful.

In addition, don't be afraid to change your business direction every few years. The markets now demand this. If you have a chronically underperforming segment of your business, a business model review can help you to shed what's not working, or figure out how to make it profitable.

A review can also help you make sure your parameters are the right parameters and are still relevant in relation to market changes in opportunities and costs.

The bottom line is that when you focus on the result you want to deliver to your customer, your business can take off.

For more information about Steve Epner, visit: www.thestartupwithin.com


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