June 22, 2010

Seven Questions To Describe Your Business

Question marks (250x229)(Actually, your answers describe your business.)
A prudent question is one half of wisdom.
— Francis Bacon
Most businesses can't answer the tough questions their prospective clients harbour. The questions may go unasked, but that doesn't mean they aren't lurking.

The Magnificent Seven

Here are seven questions worth answering
  1. Who are we?
  2. What do we do?
  3. How do we do it? (describe your process to build comfort)
  4. What won't we do? (don't skip this one)
  5. What makes us different? (have an answer your competitors can't also use)
  6. When would someone need us?
  7. Who do we serve?
An answer needn't be long. A few sentences will do. Brevity beats verbosity. You'll need time and concentration to think, though.

If this list is too long, maybe the three questions for your 10 second commercial fit you better. Notice the overlap?

Get Help

If you're stumped, ask someone who's good at listening and probing.

If you aren't sure your answers are good, ask others. Ditto if you think your answers are great. We can't be objective about what resonates with clients. It's too easy to develop generic answers that your competitors could --- and do --- use too.

Once the answers seem right, polish them. You may need help with the editing.

Other Uses

Once finished, share the results with co-workers and new hires. This helps build shared commitments. You also have the seeds of a mission statement.

Why not post the answers on your website under Frequently Asked Questions? Your marketing material can pose questions to which your company is the answer. In networking meetings where you have 30-45 seconds to introduce yourself, use one or two points and make them memorable.


What if you don't like your replies? Write the ideal answers and work to make them true.


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