9 Questions You Should Never Stop Asking as a Business Owner

As a business owner, here are some questions that you need to visit on a consistent basis.

As a business owner, here are some questions that you need to visit on a consistent basis. Very often the answers to these questions are in a constant state of change and it is important that you, as the business owner, are aware of the changes and take corrective action.

1. What is the business you in? Why are you in business?

A typical business owner will answer this question by explaining the product or service that they sell. But this is not the business that you are in. The business that you are in is customer satisfaction. As a business owner, you must always define your business in terms of your WHY, knowing your WHY, will allow you to develop products or service that customers will buy not on price, but because it fulfills their wants, needs, desires, hopes and expectations.

You don’t sell life insurance; you sell peace of mind. You don’t sell cars; you sell safe, dependable transportation. You don’t sell houses; you sell safe, comfortable homes for families.

In order to implement successful business development for your company, you must realize that customers’ wants, needs, desires, hopes and expectations are constantly changing  

2. What business will you be in the future, based on current trends?

In business, the trends are everything. Which way is the market going for you today, and what changes do you need to make in your strategic plan to move with the market?

What business could you be in if you were to change your product or service offerings in some way? What business should you be in if you want to be among the most successful and profitable businesses in your industry? Imagine that could wave a magic wand and make your business perfect in every way. What would it look like? Especially, how would it be different from today? These are questions that you must answer over and over again as a business owner.

3. Who is your customer? Your ideal customer? Your perfect customer for what you sell?

You can’t hit a target that you can’t see. As the market changes, your ideal customer profile changes as well. You can tell if you have properly identified the ideal customer for what you sell if your sales are not based on price but customer satisfaction. If you are struggling with holding onto customers or obtaining new ones, then  you need to revisit this question. Who is my ideal customer?

4. What does your customer consider as value?

What does your customer want to enjoy or receive from your product or service more than anything else? What must your customer be convinced of in order to buy your product or service rather than that of someone else? The answer to this question is the core of your strategic plan for business development. It is the core of all of your marketing, advertising and selling activities. It is your WHY, customers don't by what you do they buy WHY you do it.

5. What do you do especially well?

In what areas do you excel? What is your competitive advantage? What makes your product or service superior to that of any other competitive product being offered in your marketplace? As Jack Welch said, “If you don’t have competitive advantage, don’t compete.” As a business owner, your first responsibility when you start your business, and throughout your business life, is to develop and maintain a competitive advantage, an area of excellence in comparison with your competitors that your ideal customers want, need and will pay for. What is yours?

6. What are your goals?

You know the importance of detailed, business development planning 12-18-24 months ahead. Before you create a strategic plan of action(Business Map), you must know where are you going, because if you do not know the destination how do you know if you are on the right path? The answers to the following questions will give you a direction to follow: What are your sales goals for the next year, broken down by month, or even week and day? What are your goals for profitability? How much do you need or want to earn from your business activities? What are your growth goals? What percentage of market do you want to capture? The more specific and clear you are about your goals, the easier it is to create a clear map on how to achieve them.

Most of all, does everyone in your business who is responsible for achieving those goals know exactly what those goals are?

7. What are the constraints on your business today?

What is holding you back from achieving your goals of sales, cash flow, and profitability? Of all the factors that are holding you back from achieving successful business development, what is the biggest single factor, and what could you do to alleviate this constraint? In every business, there are limiting factors that determine the speed at which you achieve your goals. You must be absolutely clear about these constraints or limiting factors, and work continually to remove them. Sometimes the constraint can be a lack of sales. Sometimes it is the lack of skilled, qualified people. Sometimes it is the lack of capital for growth or expansion, or even operations.

All of the things mentioned above are resources, when there is a lack of resources you need to become resourceful in carrying out your plans and achieving success. If you look at the majority  of successful companies they were all at one time faced with the same constraints you are, study those companies and get ideas on how to become more resourceful.

8. What are the 20% of your activities that can account for 80% of your results?

You need to identify the 20% of things that you do personally that can account for 80% of your results and focus on those 20%, you need to delegate the other 80% to others. Do what you are good at and leave the things you are not good at to others.  

Get resourceful to get things done, you made not have the capital to pay for everything, but there are many ways to trade for services and allow you to achieve your goals.

9. Based on your answers to above questions, what strategic plan of action should you take immediately? What should you do now?