What Business Are You In? Part 1

Derived from
Jeff Jarvis; What Would Google Do?

PROFIT : So, the economy has changed, there are new rules for designing a business, how we arrange things has altered and we need some new values and viewpoints to be successful. How do we do that? Here’s our Action Plan for getting you Googlized…

What Business Are You In?

Google Map

The most fundamental question you can ask in business is: What Business Are You In? When you answer that question you set a context for everything else that follows.
When you change your answer to that question, everything else that follows must change also.
The most common example of where this question wasn’t asked is that of the railways almost 100 years ago. By defining themselves as being in the ‘railroad business’ they literally missed the boat. Er, the plane. Had they responded with ‘we’re in the transport industry’ then perhaps they’d be around today to tell us about it.
Action : What business are you in? Are you sure? What other business could you be in? Discuss this with friends, colleagues, employees, management…

YOUR Elegant Response

Once you’ve figured out, or at least speculated on, what business you are in, you then need to design an elegant solution to the need that your industry fulfils.
The reason that businesses become obsolete is because the way they are structured no longer effectively or efficiently solves the problem they were created to fix.
For instance, the newspaper industry. If you were starting a news business today, would it involve print and paper? Probably not. That’s no longer an elegant, efficient or profitable way to do news. So how would you design a news business today?
Jarvis has given us a few clues on how he would do it (See Previous Posts: Part 1 and Part 2 or read his book).
Action : Once you’ve defined what business you’re in, start designing how best to deliver on that today. Another way of asking the same question is: If you were starting your business from scratch today, what would you create and how would you do it? This the strategy you need to implement.

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