Question Time

Your starter for 10 – Can you describe your business in one sentence?

1.  As a business owner, do you understand what your defining DNA is?

2.  Do your customers or clients understand it?


If you can’t describe your business in one short sentence, neither can your customers. If customers can’t understand the message that is your business, it all stops there;  your concept of your business won’t be communicated onwards.


3. When did you last look from the outside in? – We’re all so familiar with our businesses, taking a step back and looking from a different perspective is worthwhile and usually overlooked.

4.  Are your customers able to gain a sense of what you offer? – Focus on your customer’s satisfaction but don’t neglect the business needs a core model.

5.  Is your business defined by itself or by only one part of it? – Consider if your business is interpreted for what it offers or only a part of what it does.


If you offer something unique it should be linked to your core model; consider all elements of the business. You may be able to offer more at very little cost. The value that makes you exceptional needs to be cost effective for you and apparent to your customer.


6.  Would your self-descriptive sentence fully support everything that is offered in the business? – Or are you describing the obvious, I’m a Florist, we’re a Boutique Hotel, It’s a Sweet Shop etc….

7.  Is clarity avoided in favour of cliché – Either by skirting around your core business and not stating the obvious or only stating the obvious and ignoring the core business.

8.  Is your business model clear? – Obviously you don’t want to confuse customers but equally so it’s important not to confuse the business model’s sustainability.

9.  Have you said everything you really want to say? –  Doubtful in one sentence.


If you started your business with the same model you’re operating now, stability is likely to be under strain and growth non-existent. The challenge is to balance what your customers want with additional value to clarify the business take on `who are you?’


10. Are you able to follow through? – Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk at the same time.

The most basic business model necessitates some ‘assumed’ metrics which make allowance for adjustment of prices or anomalies, therefore regular checks assist in identifying estimates from actual. Regular checks not only give an opportunity to adjust any over or under volume/price forecasts, confront anomalies and consider margins but, as small businesses often don’t have the marketing budget of similar large companies, the difference in value can be measured. The combination of checks will ensure the business model remains current and sustainable.

Turning 20 questions on its head might assist in identifying not only what your business is, but what it isn’t.

(Image credit: Leo Reynolds   Article credit: Copyright SUF)