Business Success – Four Critical Questions!

  • 03 August, 2018
  • Greg Pierlot

To enjoy business success there are four critical questions that need to be answered:

  • Who – are our ideal customers or major customer groups?
  • What – are the needs we meet or the problems we solve?
  • How – do we do it?
  • Why – should customers choose us and not our competition?

Business Success Question 1 – Who?

To enjoy true business success the first step is to clearly define your target audience – that is, who are your ideal customers or major customer groups?

Lack of clarity around your “who” is a recipe for frustration, a depleted bank account and ultimately business failure!

You need to define:

  • The key demographic data for each of your major customer groups
  • What their world is like on a day to day basis – not just as it relates to your product or service but more broadly?
  • Specific needs do they have?
  • The challenges or problems do they face on a day to day basis?
  • How do they behave?
  • What they believe?
  • What frustrates them about dealing with businesses in your sector?
  • The information they need to make an informed decision?
  • Where do they seek this information?
  • What does an amazing customer experience look like from their perspective?
  • Etc.

The more you understand your customers world, the better you will be able to tailor your offer to their specific needs.

It will also mean your marketing is far more targeted and effective!

Business Success Question 2 – What?

Having established your “WHO” the next question critical to business success is to look at your business, and what you do, from the customer’s perspective:

  • How through the products and services you provide do you change or improve the customer world?
  • What problems do you solve?
  • What risks do you reduce or eliminate?
  • What benefits will your customers derive when they purchase your product or service?

This is about building your business from the outside in – rather than the reverse!

The reality is, in most instances, a product or service is simply something customers use as a means to an end to either:

  • Allow them to achieve something important in their lives or business
  • To change how they feel
  • To avoid problems or risks

Where the focus is internal, or on a product or service, business success is elusive!

Bank accounts are also depleted as internally focused marketing simply doesn’t work!

Understanding your “WHAT” is about defining the business you are really in!

Business Success Question 3 – How?

Whilst this may appear obvious, it is critical to ensuring business success!

That is; to engage your customers, you need to be able to clearly articulate:

  • How you will go about meeting their needs
  • Why the way you do it is important and what it means for the customer
  • How what you do behind the scenes benefits the customer
  • What is different about the way you deliver your product or service and what this means for the customer

How you go about delivering your product or service is critical to business success and your overall value proposition.

You can create a powerful offering by examining all parts of your “HOW” through the customers eyes:

  • Are your policies and systems internally focused or customer focused?
  • What would an “insanely great” customer experience look like?
  • Are you investing enough in education to help your customers get the most from your product or service?
  • What could you eliminate from your processes to provide a better customer experience?
  • What could you add to the way you do business that would provide a better customer experience?
  • Are your team sales focused, or truly customer focused? Do they know how to have meaningful conversations with customers or just sell?

Business Success Question 4 – Why?

The final question to answer is – Why should customers choose your business, over and above the competition?

Unfortunately, this is a question many businesses struggle to answer in a truly effective way!

To enjoy business success, you need to be able to clearly articulate:

  • What is different about your product or service and what this means for the customer
  • How the way you do business, differentiates you from the competition
  • The compelling reasons why the customer should choose your business over the competition

In most instances, your “WHY” will not be found in the product or service, but rather the way it is delivered!

Some questions to consider:

  • Have you take the time to truly understand your customers world and needs before offering solutions?
  • Do you educate customers how to get the most from your product or service?
  • Is it your practice to follow up with customers post sale – demonstrate you truly care?
  • Are you continually innovating – looking for ways to improve your offering or the customer experience?
  • What percentage of your customers would feel truly valued – what action could you take to improve this (Most customers do not feel valued by the businesses they deal with!)

Defining your “Why” is absolutely fundamental to business success, for when it is unclear, the customer will see little differentiation and the focus will invariably shift to price!


Being able to clearly articulate your WHO, WHAT, HOW and WHY is fundamental to business success!

Whilst it is possible to answer these questions in a superficial manner, the real gold is found when you drill a bit deeper!

Ultimately, they give your customers a reason to do business with you, remain loyal and refer others.

From a financial perspective, they also mean less wasted time, resources and money, which is good for the bottom line!

At The 500 Group we are working hard on getting our Four W’s right – we are not there yet – in fact, it is a journey that seems to continually evolve!

If you would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to get in touch!