Do you know what business you’re in?

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HoopsHere’s an exercise that could dramatically improve the success potential of your business: answer the question, What business am I in?

But there’s a catch: you’re not allowed to answer the question in terms of the products or services you deliver or the activities you perform to deliver them.

So, if you’re a former publishing industry executive turned jewelry designer, you’re not allowed to answer, I design and sell custom jewelry.

If you’re a faculty member in the social studies department of a public school, you’re not allowed to answer, I teach social studies.

If you’re the shooting guard for the New York Knicks, you’re not allowed to answer, I play basketball.

Instead, try answering the question in terms of the outcomes you create for your customers.

Defining the business you’re in in terms of products or services or activities isn’t wrong. But it’s not particularly helpful, and it’s not particularly inspiring. Products and services and activities don’t paint vivid pictures of outcomes for customers. And a belief in outcomes is all that really matters to customers and potential customers.

Go ahead, try it. (If you’re especially brave, put your answer in the comment box below.)

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The nSiteful Tech Blog (the official blog of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc. since January of 2013) is where I (Jeff Cohan) and (occasionally) associates will be posting articles of potential interest to like-minded techies, nSiteful clients who are playing active roles in the maintenance of their own Web sites and blogs, and pretty much anyone interested in how Web strategies and tools can help them reach their goals.

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About Jeff Cohan

Jeff and his wife, Margie, are the proud parents of Sarah and Jake. Jeff is the founder, president and chief cook and bottle washer of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc., a Web development and Internet Consulting firm. In his spare time, Jeff builds Web sites and Web applications, plays guitar, putters around in his basement woodworking shop, mercilessly spoils his grandchildren, and creates videos from more than two decades of home movies. His current video project is an extended montage of people (mainly family members) asking him to stop filming them.

6 thoughts on “Do you know what business you’re in?

  1. I work with senior leaders in business, nonprofits and government to develop effective communications strategies for managing challenging situations or achieving maximum value from promising opportunities. And then I support implementation of those strategies.

    • Billy –

      You’ll think I’m blowing smoke up your you-know-where (because you’ve known me so long and I’ve done it so many times), but this time I’m not.

      You were actually one the inspirations for this article.

      Reading through your new Web site a couple weeks back, I thought of how this (strategic communications) is exactly what you’ve been doing for decades, and I imagined again, as I have throughout the years of following your career, that you must be very good at it.

      I’m so glad — and not the least bit surprised — that you were the first one to post a comment.

      PS: For anyone reading this exchange and wondering about the bromance, Bill and I were college roomies and good buds back in the day. Bill is the reason I’m more than a beginner guitar player. I’m the reason Bill can never run for elective office on the national level.

  2. …this is really making me think Jeff Cohan! Could put a whole different marketing perspective for why we are different than all the other bridal shops in Atlanta (what we do differently to get the same result!)

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