My sister Catherine loves fishing and to be honest she is much better at it than I am. Catherine could catch 10 fish to my one because she knows what she is doing. Before you even go fishing, you need to know why you are going. Typically, people go fishing because they love fish and like spending time outdoors. Catherine fishes to relax. I fish because I can spend time with friends or family. In business, we fish for customers so that we can enjoy the profits that those customers bring. But, why are you in the business you are in? What gets you up in the morning? What drives you to want to make sure that business works? What do you love about what your business does? In order to get clarity about what your business is really about, you need to define those reasons why you got into business and why you are still there.
Ponds - Where Are You Going to Fish?
You have started your business because you believe that there is a market for that business, but sometimes the number of opportunities overwhelms us. You need to identify the areas where you are going to have the greatest chance of success to make sure your business is profitable. In other words, we can’t fish everywhere. Some lakes or ponds only have small fish, but others have huge fish. Sometimes these spots with the big fish may be harder to get to or there may be too many other fishing boats in this area, resulting in too much competition and too few fish. If you want to be really successful, it’s important to find the best fishing spots: those with little (or no) competition and big fish! Where are these fish? For example, if you own a restaurant, you might say that you are going to focus on the families with children and lovers of Italian food who live in a particular geographic area.
These different groups - or fish - may be geographic, or they might be identified by culture, age, industry, distribution channels, market segments, technology, or even price. Are there different product categories you are fishing in? How big are you going to get?
When we go fishing, we need to get to the fishing hole. But in business, we need to be clear about how we are going to achieve our goals. How are we going to get to the size we want? How are we going to serve our customers? This can be simple when we are talking about a brick-and-mortar store that is located in a certain community. However, if you are planning to grow your business to a multi-location, multi-market, or even a multinational enterprise, you need to determine how you are going to do it. What are the things you need to do to grow? Perhaps you are happy with the vehicle you have, but if you are planning to change it, write it down. For example, one of my clients is planning to grow their business and, in order to grow, they need more space. Their 5-year plan includes adding on to their current location and buying some adjoining property to allow for growth. Some other vehicles to get you moving include alliances, acquisitions of similar businesses or competition, joint ventures, internal growth, and expansion with the use of technology. How Will You Grow? What business building techniques are you going to use to get your business to succeed and profit the way you would like it to?
Bait – What Bait Are You Going to Use to Hook Your Customers?
To create and maintain an advantage in the marketplace, we need to differentiate ourselves from the competition. You also need to decide what you want to focus on to ensure long-term viability. Understanding your customers will help you to do this. Take the time to identify why your customers are attracted to your business and how you can improve.
Net – Finally you need to know how you are going to capture your profits.
Is it going to be volume of sales, your relationships with your customers, your margin, perhaps its your low cost business model? Whatever it is, profits are important and the reason why you are in business. Without making a profit you cannot do all the other things that you love about your business, how you help people, or make the world a better place.
Dave Fuller, MBA is a Certified Professional Business Coach and the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. He would love to hear how your business fishing is going. Email email@example.com