Define Your Business Scope

If you are clear on who you are, your clients will be, too.


Many people start a business or evolve a business over time to a place that the business scope is very muddy and often difficult to explain.  It often turns into a description of "we sorta do this and we sorta do that, but not quite."  A description of the business that doesn't clearly state what the business does isn't likely to draw the type of clients that you are trying to engage.  It is like restaurants that you see occasionally that offer a menu with foods of various origins.  When the specialty or focus of the restaurant is unclear, potential customers may give up on eating there and head to the nearest McDonald's, where the food may not be the best, but where they know what they are getting.  The restaurant may have in fact been excellent, but the lack of clarity drove them away.


Clarity of business scope goes beyond simply the product of the business.  It extends to the type of clients that are desired, your business model, and the boundaries of the business (e.g. What is the company willing to do and what is the company not willing to do?).  For a restaurant, this would include knowing the answers to a series of questions.  You might ask, "Fast food, casual dining, or fine dining?"  If it is fast food, then you might consider being a separate store front, food truck, or mall vendor.  Boundaries might include specializing in barbecue with a few non-BBQ items for diners requiring a different option in a casual setting that allows take out.  This description lets potential clients know what the restaurant is all about.


Business scope is not always as easy as the restaurant scenario and may require significant effort on the owners or manages' part.  Often a business pulls together many skills or has the opportunity to serve various customer groups.  Then, in an effort to grow their business, many people fall into the trap of saying that the company is all things to all people or committing to being different things to different people.  It is important to identify what the primary focus of the business is.  Then you can use other skills, knowledge, or opportunities to support or enhance the primary business focus.


Everything the company does should all fit together in some way.  If the company has two completely different functions (e.g. a dance teacher and a bookkeeper), then it should be split into two separate businesses.  Although having a second business may have some costs associated with it, it creates a much crisper picture to potential clients to say "This is my bookkeeping company and this is my dance instruction company" than to say, "I have a bookkeeping dance instruction company."


If you are clear on who you are, your clients will be, too.


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Copyright 2016 L. Thomson  - All Rights Reserved


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