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Businesses don’t work as well when they have an identity crisis. That’s why it’s so important to know who you are before you launch your business into the world and expect to see results.
What does that mean, exactly? It means knowing which industry your business is in, or should be in. If you think that sounds easy, take a look at a few larger companies that got it wrong. Polaroid, for example, was a company that most people attributed to fun, instant pictures. When they started to focus more on their cameras and less on adapting to technology, the company struggled, even filing for bankruptcy in 2001. They thought they were in the camera industry, and they weren’t.
Another example is Blockbuster video. They made the mistake of thinking they were in the video rental industry. In reality, their industry was more about providing home entertainment to people in a convenient way, and they weren’t willing to adapt.
As you can see, knowing your industry and being able to move forward within it are important factors to any business’ success or downfall.
So, how can you determine which industry you’re really in? The good news is, it’s easier than you might think.
What is Your Business’ Purpose
As you prepare to launch your business, ask yourself why it exists. If you’re James Duva Inc., for example, you might say you exist to be a premier source for stainless steel alloys and tubing. If you’re McDonald’s, you might say you exist to provide quality, affordable, fast food to customers on the go.
So, what is your purpose? The sooner you can answer that, the easier it will be to determine your industry. If your purpose is unclear or you find yourself able to come up with multiple answers, you may be struggling a bit with your business’ identity.
If you need to narrow it down, think about the customers you plan on serving and the need you plan on providing for. That will help you to determine the underlying purpose of your business and narrow down your identity.
Remove the Specifics
It’s far too easy to get caught up in what your business or service plans to provide when you’re considering your purpose.
For example, if your business makes tennis shoes for kids, your purpose isn’t necessarily, “to provide quality shoes for children of all ages”. Rather, it should be something like, “to help kids have the right footwear they need to stay safe, play, and grow”. Do you see the difference? When you take your product out of the equation, it’s easier to see what your purpose really is. Of course, your product or service should provide the solution for that purpose, but it can give you a clearer indication of what your industry is and where you belong.
As you can see, recognizing which industry you’re in can make a big difference. Before you launch your business, and a step back and consider some of these questions. They can help you to hone in on the right industry, and start your business off on the right foot.