Showing posts with label Customer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Customer. Show all posts

The Critical Success Factor

There are multiple factors that directly influence the health and wealth of any given business venture. These factors may be diverse and different depending on the nature of the business. The Critical Success Factor, however, is common to virtually all business ventures.

The Critical Success Factor: Earn a Profit Solving Customer Problems Better than the Competition. It is do, or die. A venture dies for one of three reasons: 1] It didn't earn a profit; 2] It didn't solve its customer's problems; 3] It wasn't better than the competitive alternatives.

Earn a Profit Solving Customer Problems Better than the Competition ... The Critical Success Factor for all business ventures.

Critical ... having the potential to become disastrous
Success ... attains prosperity
Factor ... a circumstance that contributes to an outcome

* Earn ... Teamwork!  A business employs a team of people working together to continually and profitably solve customer problems better than competing alternatives. Healthy, growing ventures follow a clear business model. An educated, experienced, collaborative, communicative team with key core competencies is paramount to success.

* Profit ... The monetary value captured by a business is appropriately called earnings. After all expenses are accounted, earnings become profit. Profit is a reward for doing a good job solving customer problems. A key source of growth funding for a business venture is earned profit. While the profit reward is "financial", the reward can and should have other elements, too. In a healthy venture culture it can actually be "fun" going to work and being part of the team, and their may well be some "fame" that results from delivering valued solutions to customers.

* Solving ... Solutions to customer problems are typically combinations of products, services, process, and methods. However, the world keeps changing as do customers and competitors. Solving customer problems, new and old, is a continuing process for sustaining a healthy venture.

* Customer ... Customers are the primary source of revenue for a business venture. Some business ventures may have only a few key customers, others may have many. A group of customers that share similar traits comprise a market segment. Many business ventures may serve multiple and varied market segments. A business venture exists to serve its customers.

* Problems ... Customer needs, wants, desires, and situations that can be adequately addressed  and resolved in a reasonable time and expense are good opportunities for a business venture.

* Better ... Continually improving value is critical to sustaining a competitive advantage. Scientists and engineers often think about innovative solutions in terms of the fit, form, function, features, and performance. The entrepreneur thinks in terms of the benefits customers will receive. Value is measured by comparing the benefits to the price. Value can be increased by delivering better benefits to customers, by lowering the price, or both. Customers decide what offers the better value. In the long run, the products, services, processes, and methods that deliver a better value win the business.  In short: Value = Benefits / Price

* Competition ... There are (almost) always competing solutions and ventures from other sources that are directly comparable to our solution. This competition includes indirect alternatives, substitutes, and replacements that could serve customer requirements. Best to assume we have competition, even if we don't yet know who or what. Competition is not always a bad thing ... competitors can help validate and build new markets, and sometimes competitors can become collaborative partners.

Mission Statement ... The Critical Success Factor!

The world changes ... client needs, wants, desires; competitive offerings; economic environments; et alia.  
Every organization must proactively address change if it is to survive and thrive.  The four elements of the Critical Success Factor are excellent focal points for potential innovation in an organization.  

The Critical Success Factor statement is also an excellent Mission Statement template.

Critical Path ...

Ultimately, the function of a business venture is to satisfy customer needs, wants, and desires by transforming their problems into solutions (products, services, processes, value ...) and capturing a bit of profit along the way. 

Customer Perception of Value

From the choices usually available in a marketplace, customers determine which supplier offers the best value. Different customers have different needs, different wants, different desires. Hence, multiple competitors may well exist in the same marketspace. However, seldom do competitors have the same market share. Typically, one company wins the vote for "best value" from a plurality (or majority) of potential customers

In a nutshell, customers determine value by which supplier offers the best benefits at the optimal price.

Value = Benefits/Price

Great value, super bargain!: the benefits greatly exceed the price ... Value = ++
Good value: the benefits outweigh the price ... Value = +
Fair value: the benefits match the price ... Value = OK
Bad value: the price outweighs the benefits ... Value = -
Rip off!: the price greatly exceeds the benefits ... Value = --
To increase value, either add benefits or decrease price.
The "quick and dirty" way to enhance value is to have a "Sale!" ... "50% off, limited time only!"

Customers make their buy decisions primarily based on their perceptions of value, comparing the options offered from several sources. How many sources are included is a customer decision, and not always entirely logical. One of the key values of a brand is to make the buying decision easy for the customer ... "I'll just by an Apple computer rather than explore other options."

Some benefits are determined objectively ... fit, form, function, feel, features, performance ...
Some benefits are determined subjectively ... color, smell, brand name, shape ...
Some aspects of the price are direct ... the cost ...
Some aspects of the price are indirect ... warranty, convenience of purchase ...

Ways to deliver value to a customer:
- Product: performance, quality, features, brand, selection ...
- Price: fair, visible, consistent, reasonable
- Access: convenient, location, nearby, at-hand
- Service: ordering, delivery, return, check-out
- Experience: emotional, respect, ambiance, fun, intimacy ...
- Process: ways of doing business that are consistent and comfortable