Situation: The business climate is starting to improve. Opportunities are coming in. How do you decide what to do and what not to do?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Talk to your customers. What do they value about your product/service and what is less valuable? Build on opportunities that customers value – which are consistent with your company’s strength and focus.
- Consider a customer survey – Survey Monkey or a telephone.
- If you don’t have in-house expertise to design and administer a survey, find knowledgeable outside resources.
- Make sure that the survey questions will drive understanding of your focus.
- If you are short of cash, at least get an expert to review the survey and administration plan.
- Before you launch the survey to your full customer base, “test” it with a select group of customers – this will tell you whether it will produce usable information. If not, rewrite.
- Have employees take the survey and predict how customers will respond. Compare these results with the actual results from customers. You may learn something!
- Which opportunities will build sustainable recurring revenue vs. opportunistic (one-time) revenue?
- Recurring revenue can be lower margin if the income stream is sustainable.
- Balance efficiency and utilization. For example, fixed fee service contracts that renew consistently.
- Judge opportunities against your “Hedgehog” as defined by Jim Collins in Good to Great:
- What you are passionate about?
- What you can be best at in your marketplace?
- What you can measure by a single economic ratio?
Key Words: Customer Needs, Customer Survey, Business OpportunitiesTweet