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Where does your strategy come from?

If you’re spending most of your energy looking at the competition, then I argue that:

  • By definition, you’re behind.
  • There are several others who probably “own” that space more than you do.

Don’t get me wrong: You need to be aware of competitive moves, and incorporate what you see. It’s just a lousy way to direct your strategy.

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I’ve been talking about the three key dimensions of a company’s mission. Starting with delivering value for customers, we then added articulating what the value is for us, the team.

Finally, let’s talk about how a Mission captures value for the world. This might stretch your comfort zone, but stay with me here.

The good news is that you get to define “world” for your organization. It could be the local community, society at large, your industry, or even literally the whole world.

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Last week I talked about how we know when a company’s mission is truly a solid foundation, starting with delivering value to customers.

The second dimension is delivering value to us: our leaders, employees, contractors, partners, … anyone who is involved with creating and supplying products and services to those customers.

If you have a non-profit, feel free to change the language. But the concept is the same.

We won’t be able to continue, sustainably, unless WE want to do it. Again and again, year after year. And this is captured by a powerful mission statement.

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I had a powerful conversation recently with someone, exploring the nature of having an organizational mission. In my view, this is the absolute foundation for everything you do. So I’m going to explore this in the coming weeks.

I admit I’m a bit hesitant to start with your customers, but that’s where everything begins. The fact is that you need to supply value to customers, otherwise your business is not sustainable.

If you’re a non-profit, I understand that you might not want to call them “customers.” That’s fine. Call them beneficiaries, sponsors and donors. The fact is that you must deliver continuing value over the long term, or you’re going to fold.

So why am I reluctant to start with customers?

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Recently, CB Insights tabulated the top 20 reasons startups fail. There are some fascinating conclusions in there, but I simply want to focus on the top reason, the one which contributes to 42% of failures:

No market need.

At one level, this is the most obvious conclusion, not worth more thought. But let’s look further.

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I heard an interesting article on the Innovation Hub radio show recently, talking about how riskiness affects people’s decisions. It got me thinking, because I’ve wondered for many years about the connection.

When we’re working on connecting our products and marketing to the customer need, we often start with their needs and desires. The customer desires a phone which is functional and attractive, with long battery life and easy-to-use apps.

That’s fine as far as it goes, but it’s a pretty surface-level way of thinking.

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How enthusiastic are your customers about your products? Your company?

Of course, you have the most amazing products and services. You strive every day to promote them and to constantly improve them. That’s fantastic.

But … enthusiasm for your company? That’s harder to answer.

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They’re that wonderful customer. You’ve worked with them for years, but now they’re gone.

This has happened to my clients on occasion, and it really hurts. It can shake them to their foundation if they let it.

Here’s how I’ve helped pull them back from the ledge.

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I just released a new webinar, so I wanted to make sure you’re able to take advantage of it. You can connect for free with the information down below – and these webinars are always live, not recorded.

I’m digging into the struggle that we all have with attracting the right customers. You may be lucky to have a sufficient flow of customers, but it’s easy to end up with ones who cause you more grief than they’re worth.

Plus, the revenue from these customers may be just fine, but what about the rest of the relationship? Because, if you’re following what I write, you probably have more impactful goals than just money. It’s your mission.

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You have the power to make things easier or harder for your customers.

And for your employees, partners and community as well.

We all seem to complain a lot about how busy we are, how difficult life is, and how we feel everything is so complicated. A lot of that is just that we love to out-do each other on complaining, but there’s also some basic truth to it.

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