Clarity is a repeated theme of mine and The Disruption!, whether in regards strategy or how you make money. Listening to Josh Kaufman discuss his “Five Parts of Every Business” and the need to define your business model while presenting this information clearly magnified the point.
What Are The “5 Parts of Every Business”?
Kaufman says in every business model there are “5 Parts of Every Business,” each of which flows into the next:
- Value Creation: A venture that doesn’t create value for others is a hobby.
- Marketing: A venture that doesn’t attract attention is a flop.
- Sales: A venture that doesn’t sell the value it creates is a non-profit.
- Value Delivery: A venture that doesn’t deliver what it promises is a scam.
- Finance: A venture that doesn’t bring in enough money to keep operating will inevitably close.
Kaufman defines Value Creation as “Discovering what people need or want, then creating it.”
Most customers don’t know what they need or want. As has been pointed out many times, people wanted a faster horse, not an automobile. However, whatever they want, in reality, they are just seeking a solution to a problem. Therefore, the critical issue is determining “What problem you are trying to solve?” Or, as Clayton Christensen said, “What is the job the customer is hiring you or your product to do?”
Defining this is often hard, as many companies don’t know what job their clients are seeking them or their products to provide. I have discussed this before. However, as the adage says, “people aren’t buying drills, they are buying holes.” This is a vital part of your business model.
So, working with your team to determine “the job to be done” and your “Core Customer” is well worth the effort because you can better describe what you do, and all your employees will better know what you do and how what they do impacts it.
Kaufman’s definition is “Marketing is defined as attracting attention and building demand for what you have created.”
In today’s digital world, with Google, Facebook, Linked In, and Instagram, marketing separating yourself from the masses is hard, especially if people don’t understand the product and service. Therefore, by focusing on the job to be done or the problem you are solving, it easier to stand out among the crowd.
Also, as you identify what the “job to be done” is, you can better identify your Core Customer. Remember a Core Customer is:
- An actual person with needs and wants. If you sell B2B your core customer is still a person because you have to convince a person to buy.
- Who buys for the optimal profit.
- Who pays on time, is loyal, and refers others.
- Has a unique online identity and behavior; and
- A customer who exists amongst your clients today.
Build Direct started as a company supplying contractors. However, it soon realized that while contractors were a key customer component, they were not the company’s Core Customer; instead, Build Direct’s core customers were young female DIYers interested in the products and education. Build Direct focused its marketing according to that recognition and started providing much educational content for young female DIYers. This specific marketing drove much better brand recognition and engagement.
Also, South Shore Furniture in Canada identified their core customer as “Sarah.” Sarah is so vital that there is a mannequin of Sarah in all meeting rooms, so no one forgets whom they are seeking to serve.
Besides, marketing to the correct demographic is easier and more fruitful if you know your Core Customer. Without this information, the marketing section of your business model is just hope, not a strategy!
Kaufman defines sales as “Turning prospective customers into paying customers.”
However, as Jeffrey Gitomer, put it “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” So the key is how do you move prospects into customers? Businesses have to earn their prospects’ trust and help them understand why it is worth paying for the offer. Another way of looking at this is, “What is your brand promise?”
Companies need to know what their brand promise is. For example, Starbucks is “Love your beverage or let us know and we will always make it right.” Some organizations may have supporting brand promises to prove more definition of the brand promise. Your brand promise must be measurable, because as Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets managed.” So if it is measurable and measured, the organization can ensure that it meets its brand promise, which provides more assurance to the prospect. Finally, with a clearly defined brand promise that is measurable, the organization ends up saying “No” more than “Yes” to opportunities and ideas since they will damage the brand promise.
Since no one wants to be taken advantage of, Sales is about educating the prospect to identify what is essential to convince them you can deliver on your promise. A clearly stated brand promise that is measured and quantified increases the ability to persuade the prospect to purchase from you. It amazes me how many business models don’t have a brand promise.
Here Kaufman defines Value Delivery as “Giving your customers what you’ve promised and ensured that they’re satisfied.” With this, I have no issues. Anyone who doesn’t deliver what they promised is effectively a “scam artist.”
To ensure you that make the customer satisfied, you have to exceed the customers’ expectations. A popular way to determine customer satisfaction is through Net Promoter Score scores which we see more and more (if you are looking for help with NPS surveys of your customers, contact me). You want more promoters and detractors. However, the NPS score tells you what the customer thinks after experiencing the service or product. Companies need to develop systems that ensure the service or product is exceeding expectations.
A great example is the Ritz Carlton’s policy whereby any Ritz-Carlton employees can spend up to $2,000 per incident, not per year, to rescue a guest experience. This policy ensures that the customer is getting a great experience because it empowers employees to fix problems and provides the customers’ concerns are solved quickly. As David Marquet says, “Move the decision making to where the information is.” That is what Ritz is doing, and it is empowering employees and making customers happy.
Companies that have outsourced many functions to cut costs, so any customer has difficulty reaching the people they need or have to spend five minutes going through a phone tree to contact some is already failing at this.
Ensure your business model tracks customer satisfaction and you have ways to ensure that customers are happy.
Kaufman defines finance as “Bringing in enough money to keep going and make your effort worthwhile.”
As I have pointed out, this is key, and many people don’t realize the situation because of flawed analysis and lousy modeling. However, the key for any organization must be a well-defined “Profit/X.”
Many organizations don’t have a well-defined Profit/X, but there is a lack of discipline that ensures good financial performance without it. Profit/X is some unit of scale, and profit can be gross profit, net profit, EBTIDA, or EBIT. Examples that I have seen are:
- profit per airplane
- profit per job
- profit per customer
- gross margin per delivery
- profit per employee
There is no correct Profit/X, just the one that works with your business. One organization that did deliveries chose Gross Margin/Delivery, which focused on reducing the cost of delivery to maximize profit. Once Profit/X is selected, the entire organization must seek to meet or exceed it; thus, everyone needs to understand it and how they drive it. With that focus and discipline, the organization is more likely to meet its financial goals and objectives.
In summary, the organization needs to be able to define its business model by the following:
- Define the problem its products or services solve or, more precisely, what job they do.
- Who their Core Customer is so they can market to them effectively?
- What is their brand promise, and how is it measured?
- That their customers are satisfied, returning and recommending.
- That they have identified their Profit/X so that they are profitable.
Doing this work is an excellent exercise for any leadership team to help bring clarity to your organization. If you need assistance doing it, contact me. Good luck, and may your business grow.
Copyright (c) 2021, Marc A. Borrelli