A Simple Question That Can Make You Rich

Mark Ballett is an ecommerce expert with more than 25 years’ experience helping retailers to grow and evolve. He was Supply Director of Cable & Wireless, and CEO of several telecoms companies at the beginning of the internet era, played a leading role in an £80M broadband start up, as well as leading Norweb Telecom's growth from £10M to £100m turnover.

I have a question for you.

It appears to be very simple, but if you really work hard at answering it for your business you will be much more successful; it can even make you rich. The question is this: what business are you in? That’s easy, right? Well, be careful, many business owners don’t have a very good answer.

You don’t have to read too many marketing books to be told that people buy benefits not products. It should therefore be a small step to ask yourself exactly what benefits your clients are buying from you as that will help you answer my question. Why are your clients choosing you over your competitors?

For instance, why would you buy a book from Amazon rather than going to a high street bookshop, or any other online bookstore? Or, why buy anything from them, as they do seem to sell almost everything these days. What is the major benefit of buying something from Amazon that you could get elsewhere online, let alone in traditional store?

Amazon sell much the same stuff as most of their competitors, but they have majored on Order Completion. It is just easier to complete an order with Amazon. There are lots of reasons for this, but making it easy to buy something is the major reason we use them so much. For me, Amazon are in the Order Completion business and they are masters at it.

What does your business excel at that makes you meaningfully different from the competition? What distinctive business are you in? If the answer is “nothing” then you need to find something or, if it is something you aren’t currently making enough of, you should focus on it.

Being meaningfully different to your target customers is essential, so be clear about the answers to these simple questions and they will make all the difference to your wealth.