Summer 2014

 

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We've gone social. And for good reason. In the spirit of knowing our primary customer, we want you to have ample opportunity to engage with us. Our hope is to create stronger connections and timely responses while sharing knowledge and insights into growing and improving your business. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more tips, insights and access to value-added tools.

As always, we will be waiting to answer any of your burning strategic planning questions!

Darcy Misiak Bien, Strategic PlannerKathy DeLaura, Strategic Planner
Darcy Bien 
Kathy DeLaura
darcy@pinchange.com kathy@pinchange.com

Knowing Your Primary Customer    
by Darcy Bien

 

 

I attended an insightful workshop at my 15th Harvard Business School reunion, Seven Strategy Questions by Professor Robert Simons.  He started by making three propositions: 

  1. Successful strategic execution requires tough, uncomfortable choices based on simple logic and clear principles.  (You need a process not a retreat.)
  2. You know your business more than I can ever know. (Boy, is this true.)
  3.  Active discussions with people in your organization is the key - there is no magic bullet, no metric or scorecard that will tell you the strategic pitfalls. (You must ask the right questions!) 

His first question of seven is: Are your resources and structure allocated to support your primary customer AND maximize the value? 

 

So, here is what I propose to you.  At your next monthly strategic meeting... yep, I said monthly!  Ask the leadership team, "Who is our Primary Customer?" Your leadership should clearly define using as much detail as possible.  Then compare answers.  As you know, the worst answer is "EVERYBODY".  Strategy is about focus and choices.  You have lots of different customers with many needs, probably too many.  Who do you serve the best and where can you provide the highest value?


Once you get agreement to "who" then you can ask the second question: "What do they value?"  Whether it is expertise, dedicated relationship, best technology, customized features, or low price, prioritize the list of values. Think about how to allocate resources to best deliver the highest value proposition.  Remember we are trying to understand "willingness to pay" to maximize the gap between "cost to serve".


So, here are the questions for your leadership team: Who is your Primary Customer?  How do you know?  Does everyone agree?  Does your structure support them?  Do you know what they value most and are you maximizing resources to capture the value?

 

Start with you business segmentation and identify your ideal customer profile to uncover your primary customer.  Then through customer interviews and focus groups you will better understand what they value. As many of you know this takes work- asking the right questions and making tough choices.

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For further reading:
 

 

To Succeed as an Entrepreneur, Know Your Customer, Alan Hall, Forbes

 

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Partners in Change, LLC (PinC) is a leading strategic planning and facilitation firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. We provide strategic planning, coaching, and implementation services to growing small to medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations. Contact us for your planning needs.

www.PinChange.com             (513) 369-1495            info@pinchange.com