“If you closed your company's doors today, would your customers suffer any real loss? How long would it take and how difficult would it be for them to find another firm that could meet those needs as well as you did?” asks Cynthia Montgomery in her book The Strategist.
Does my company matter?
It’s a big question. And it’s not an easy one to answer for a lot of firms. But think about what you do each day whether it’s selling or marketing. How does what you do matter to who you are trying to connect with?
This is particularly important as you think about your inbound marketing strategy. Your company, hopefully, is doing something uniquely well relative to your competition.
And you are, hopefully, communicating this to your market in a meaningful way through your inbound marketing.
What’s my purpose?
Another way to think about this is looking at your purpose. Montgomery says that your business’ purpose—“the unique value it brings to the world, what sets it apart, and why and to whom it matters”—is critical.
She argues that everything:
- Competitive advantage
…flows from purpose.
A good purpose drives a stake in the ground and says what you will and won’t do.
We will create not just computers but beautiful, highly functional, easy-to-use products (Apple). We will not provide complicated over-priced fares and cranky customer service, but simple, cheap flights and great customer service (Southwest).
You get the picture.
The Shark Tank
To help you see why your purpose is important, just watch the Shark Tank. Each week, entrepreneurs from around the country plunge into the tank, facing five no fool-suffering tycoons.
What ensues is interesting.
It’s easy to see what products will be fought over in a feeding frenzy of wheeling and dealing. Products that fill an unmet need that will matter to the market. People that have thought through their purpose (or appear to have).
And which products will be harangued out of the tank: The Uro Club, a portable urinal “ingeniously disguised” as a golf club. Throx, because 3 socks are better than a pair. Or the Man Candle, because what bachelor doesn’t want his place to smell like farts?
As unique as the Uro Club is, if it ceased production today would their customers or future customers feel any real loss?
Objectivity: Look around your desk
If you’re not ready to have a hard look at your business, start with someone else’s. Look around your desk. Pick anything, maybe your laptop. And ask those questions about that product and brand:
- If that company closed its doors tomorrow, would you suffer any real loss?
- How long would it take to find another product/company to fill your needs?
- How difficult would it be?
- Does it provide a difference that matters in the industry?
- Is the product better than others in some consequential way?
And Now Ask…
Does my business matter? What is our purpose?