What are the things about your business that will never change? I recently came across some advice from one of the world’s greatest living entrepreneurs, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, to another entrepreneur who is quickly climbing the ranks, Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals. There are dozens of gems in Bezos’ 25-minute talk, including this one:
“Focus on the things in your business that are not going to change ... . For Amazon, people are always going to want great selection. They’re not going to wake up in 10 years and say they want worse selection. They’re not going to say they want shipping to be slower, and they’re not going to say they want prices to be twice as much as everybody else’s.” So Bezos can focus on price, on availability and inventory, and on free, fast shipping. If he invests in those things today, those investments will always pay off.
What will never change for your business and your customers? More specifically, what is especially great about your business that isn’t going to change? Or, what is not yet especially great but needs to become so?
For GuildQuality, we do an especially great job connecting remodelers, home builders, developers, and home services contractors with information that helps them improve the quality of their work. We also connect homeowners with information that helps them make more informed decisions about the companies they choose to work with.
Quality will always drive success, and more-informed customers will always be better customers. So, as long as we focus on creating higher-quality contractors and more-informed customers, we’ll remain successful.
Knowing what it is in your business that won’t ever change is essential for you and for everyone on your team. If you think it is customer service, dig deeper.
Great service is fundamental to the health of a business, and for every thoughtful business owner, the pursuit of exceptional service is inextricably tied to the pursuit of profit.
What are the things that are (or should be, or are about to become) so enduringly special about your business? Is it your niche? The product you build? Your type of clients and their particular preferences? Your culture?
Once you figure it out, direct your attention to those things, as they will keep you successful in a challenging market and will reign in your focus amidst the distractions of a good market.
—Geoff Graham is president of GuildQuality, a member-based company focused on customer-satisfaction surveying, reporting, and benchmarking for the remodeling and building industries.