Good News – Business is Building! Now, What to Pursue? Four Guidelines

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 Opportunities 

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