Seven Vital Questions to Ask Your Small Business
This article is about asking challenging questions in business. One of the reasons why Design Inspiration is still designing websites and corporate IDs two decades after I set it up is that we make a point of asking ourselves the tough questions and learning from our answers.
It’s Easy To Avoid the Important Things
Running your own business is tough work. You have to learn skills that you never previously dreamed you’d need. And you have to do it at the same time as earning money. Or income dries up. So, it’s easy to avoid asking those questions. Why make it tougher, eh? Trouble is, once you do that your income starts to dry up anyway. If you avoid these questions, you’ll end up avoiding a future for your business.
That’s why in this post I’m asking you to consider these questions now. It’s almost never too late to address them. To make it interesting, why not choose one and post your answer in the comments section below? I’d like to know how you’re doing and your answer may help another business do better.
Seven Vital Questions You Must Ask About Your Brand
What do you stand for?
There’s a well-known quote that goes: “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything” (attributed to lots of people). This is true about business too. For people to believe in you and your brand, you have to have some values that you believe in. Maybe it’s time to articulate them?
Who are you not prepared to do business with?
Every few years we have to turn down an enquiry from a potential client. Sometimes it’s meant turning down something lucrative, and that’s been tough. But the decision has always been easy, because we only do business with people or companies that share our ethical standpoint. Consider this question now: who would you have to turn away?
What single thing is your USP?
I ask this question a lot, and anyone who’s attended one of my workshops will tell you that I don’t let you get away with fudging the answer. What is the one thing that sets you apart from the competition.
Who inspires you?
We don’t find success alone. Every business person that has made it, knows the value of inspiration. It’s what keeps you going during the tough times as well as what makes you push harder when times are easy. Who inspires you to push yourself and your business further than you ever thought possible?
Why should anyone care whether your business succeeds or fails?
Seriously, why should anyone care? You may think you sell the best left-handed widgets in the world, but why should anyone else care whether they get them from you or another supplier? Your passion for what you do must translate into a similar passion in your clients. Apple does this famously well. Maybe it’s time to find a way to encourage the same kind of loyalty by going beyond just your products and services. Provide something more than the simple business transaction.
Do your clients still want the things you sell?
This is a big one. Your product may have been hot stuff last year but do enough people actually want it now? Maybe they can get it online for less; if that’s the case, maybe it’s time to adapt, evolve and diversify. Is what you sell limited to your product or service, or is there more to it?
What are you most afraid to face up to?
You know those jobs that you prevaricate over? The ones that just never seem to get done. Those are the things you’re afraid to look at. Which of the questions above did you skip? Look deeper: maybe you should take a good, hard look at why you skipped them.
The Next Step
Remember, this only works if you’re brutally honest with yourself. It’s time for you to look hard at your own experiences and attitudes. Are you up to the challenge?