What is your product for? What progress does your customer want your offering to help them make?
For example, if you make and sell screws and bolts destined for hardware stores, the store manager does not necessarily want the screw or the bolt. But they might want their walk-in customer to find better ways to fasten something. Or to find it faster.
The store manager might also value an easier way to display the bolts. Or a system that makes it so they never run out of stock. The bolt is a commodity. Anyone can make bolts.
Walk into the screw and bolt section of any Home Depot, and you’ll see such a business model in action. All the displays and pull-out drawers are designed, installed and stocked by a once small company out of Cincinnati called Hillman Industries. Hillman doesn’t make any bolts. They have others do that. Their bolts are not better than anyone else’s. Their focus is to make the retailer’s job of managing a low-cost and low-margin item easier to merchandize and with stock that is always replenished by Hillman employees.
Hillman’s product’s purpose? To make selling fasteners virtually painless so that retailers can make more money with less effort. And they do that better than anyone else. This is what I call a Big Strategy.
Do a documentary on your customer. Pull up a chair. Walk with them as they do their job. Look for ways that you can help them relieve a pain that they might be tolerating. The key to getting the best out of this activity is to be as open and curious as you’ve ever been. Assume anything is possible. Questions to ask include:
- When it comes to _______________, what is your biggest frustration? What gets in your way?
- Why do you do it that way?
- What did you do right after you did that? Why?
- What did you do right before you did that? Why?
Then hold a brainstorming session with your team to create a long list of ideas as to how you might relieve the pains you uncovered. Send me an email, and I will send you an effective approach to hold this brainstorming session with your team.
Do you have a Big Strategy?
Take a 5-minute Big Strategy Assessment to get a better idea how your company is positioned for profitable growth.