What Business are you in?

The question seems easy to answer however I challenge each Business Owner or Executive to consider the following.  Ask anyone what business they are in and most likely they respond with the name of the commodity they sell.  We are in the Landscape Business, or the Computer Business or even the Real Estate Business.

Guess what?  So are all your competitors!

How should you answer this question so you differentiate your Business?  The most effective way is to answer the following questions and then use those answers to come up with the REAL answer of what business you are in.  Defining your Business in terms of WHAT you do for your customers is the key.  From this answer keep expanding your definition of your business as broad as possible.

Why?  So you have growth options.


Many years ago some railroads defined themselves as being the “railroad business”.  In reality, they were in the business of transporting goods and people.  By ignoring the other avenues of transportation such as Trucks, Buses, Ships and Airplanes, many railroads went out of business.

I know a Business that whole sales Equine products (halters, leads, saddles, etc.) to Tack stores, End users and Online retailers.  When going through this exercise the business was defined as:  Being in the business of providing, high quality leather and other material products to the Domestic animal industry.  This allows this business to expand into Dog products, Cat Products, etc.


So whether you want your business to grow significantly or slightly you need to define your business as broad as possible.  This will help you when you hire, manage and sell your business.

Consider answering the following questions to help you define your Business.

  1. What Business are you in?
  2. What do you do for your Customers?
  3. What Business could you be in?
  4. What Business should you be in?
  5. What Business should you NOT be in?

Take a stab at answering these questions.  Use your talents, abilities, energies, and your heart’s desire to be honest with your self.