What Business Are You In?

I’ll bet you thought you were in the car fixing business. Well in a way you are. That’s what you sell, but that’s not the business. Fixing the car is a given; that’s what’s expected — that you can fix the car. This is the commodity you sell. The activity that you do.

But business is about people. We interface with people. People do their business with other people. The car doesn’t decide to bring itself to you.

So saying a business is about people actually translates into this: business is about relationships and experiences. That’s how people are affected by other people. And how you affect others will determine your success. I can’t overstate that. Whoever provides the experience someone wants and feels good about, will become the shop they call theirs.

Be in the business your customers want you to be in. That is, they obviously want you to fix their car, but what else is important to them? How about: trust, concern, professionalism, etc. The needs and desires of your customers is what really determines — or should determine — what your business should be about. Always remember, your client isn’t only buying your ability to fix their car. They are also buying everything that goes along with that service.

Here’s a strategic question to think about:  If all you’re selling is auto repair and fixing the car is your primary focus, you limit yourself to being just another auto repair shop. When that happens you run the risk of being commoditized. And a commoditized business will be forced to compete on price. That’s a hard way to spend the day!

The way your customer feels about your service, the people they deal with, the environment, and everything they experience controls everything.

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