Thursday, February 28, 2008

Where Are We?

Before your company can go anywhere, you've got to know exactly where you are today from both your own perspective, your employees' perspectives, your customers' perspectives, AND the general marketplace's perspective. So, as "A CEO's GPS," my first order of business is to encourage you to collect and catalog your company's reality by listening to the key stakeholders inside and outside the company in their own unscripted words.

You're listening for patterns, themes, and intelligence that tell an unvarnished truth about your business, its specialty, your competition, the market opportunity, and your unique capacities that can coalesce into a real selling brand.

- How does my company articulate its specialty now?
- Where does it rank in sales, product quality, and leadership status in its specialty?
- What's most important to customers when they buy? Removal of pain? Improvement of what aspect? What attributes? What end benefit?
- Where's the SWEET SPOT for the specialty's attributes... the dividing line between meaningful, measurable differentiation and ungraspable gobbledy-gook in the customer's mind?
- What sets your company apart? What does it do that nobody else does, and how important is that to the market?
- What are your company's values?
- What are its most serious weaknesses?
- Who's the competition? What are they famous for?
- What does the competition do better? Does the market know it?
- What's the biggest thing customers wish they had more of that they don't get now from any company?
- What will make your company #1 in its specialty?
- What will the industry look like in three years? Who will dominate and why?
- Where will your company be in three years?
- What should the market know about your company that it doesn't know today?

Coming tomorrow.... WHO to ask these questions!!!

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