You may know what you're selling, and you may know who you're selling it to...and I very much hope that you do, or your business is going nowhere...but you might be missing the most important people in your business equation without really realising it.
My coaching and training clients have become used to having me ask them to walk around an issue and to look at it from some different angles; to see the problem from the other side, in order to better understand the thing, and thereby find a solution or a resolution, and I'm going to ask you to do something similar for your own business.
I want you to ask yourself 'who is the end user of what I sell (or do, or deliver...or whatever)?'
All too often I find that people in business get caught up in themselves, their business and their people. Others get caught up in the people they do business with; better, but still not right.
I want you to think about the LAST link in the chain; the person who is the last to touch, hear, use your service or product.
My favourite example of what I mean is a brewing company with which I did a lot of work. I was engaged in training the team tasked with selling their beers to bar owners, club owners, publicans and so on, and naturally their focus was on getting their message across to these customers.
I asked them to think again, just as I'm asking you to do the same. I asked them to identify who their clients really were.
Again and again they got stuck with the idea that's their clients were the folk who bought their beer, until I pointed out that the clients who bought the beer had to sell it on. They might be the direct customer, but they weren't the END USER of the products.
In that instance the end user was the person who went into a bar or a club, put some money down and got a glass of beer and drank it.
It all seems so simple when you break it down, but no one, from the farmer growing the grain to make the beer, through the brewery and all its staff, the logistics company, the pubs and bars...no one would have a job or a business if the end user didn't pay for and drink a beer.
But throughout that whole chain, how much focus was actually pinned on that drinker? Not enough would be my answer; everyone was too fixated on their own little piece of the puzzle, and weren't able, or maybe willing, to see the whole picture.
So I ask you again: who is your business's end user? How much of your attention are you devoting the people without whom your business has no meaning?
Once you have pinpointed your real end user, it's a pretty simple matter to work your way backwards up the chain making sure every aspect is working as well as it should, without ever losing sight of the person in the bar drinking the beer.