Bizpreneur Middle East April 2021 - Page 14

WHAT business are we in? AND WHY do

we sell our product/service ?


Answer these two questions well and watch as success unfolds.

Sounds easy, but it is the one basic that is not covered effectively by a large part of the busines community. It is the holy grail for providing value and igniting innovation.

Many companies have evolved over the years. We are not talking about that. We are talking about your current understanding of your business, the competition, the overall market, your own target market, its dynamics, its customer base and its requirements.

So let’s look at possible answers to the following:


What business are we in?

Maybe, just maybe, we are in the business of making our customers happy? Or simply in the business of making money? Irrespective of our products or services.

But if we had to pin it down, exactly what is it that we do?

Far too many companies define “what they do” in terms of their products or services and not by the benefit that the client may derive from them. History is littered with examples of companies that were thinking they were one thing whereas they were actually something else. Here are some examples:

Business: Ice supply business

Actually: Food & drink storage business

Eliminated by: The refrigerator.


Business: Typewriter business

Actually: Communication business

Eliminated by: Word processor

Clarity in this respect would provide rich rewards for those who seek value/innovation.

Our next point would be to ascertain “why you”.

Why do people buy our products? (Some examples for clarity/understanding)

People don't buy fluoride toothpaste.                   They buy shiny, healthy, clean teeth.

People don't buy oven mitts.                                They buy safety.

People don't buy clothes.                                     They buy style.

People don't pay for evening classes.                  They buy a future.

People don’t buy insurance.                                They buy safety.   


Specific examples include:

Ace Hardware: People don’t buy drills                         They buy holes for their walls etc.

Wonderbra: People don’t buy underwear/lingerie.   They buy self-confidence.

Harley Davidson:  People don’t buy motorbikes.     

  They buy the concept of freedom

                                                                       for middle-aged men.

Now answer the same questions:

What business are we in?

Why do people buy our products?


There are many ways to find out:

      1. Ask your customers what pain point/problem does your product/service solve

       2. Ask people who may consider your product/service, but end up not buying it

       3. Find out how your customers are using your products/services

       4, Consider the substitutes/alternatives that your product may have

        5. Consider what your product is or can be used for