The Most Important Business Question of the Year

By | January 3, 2011

Every year at this time people make personal resolutions. Business owners and leaders also set expectations and have high hopes for the new year. Studies show on the average people give up on their personal resolutions by the end of a month and businesses reach the end of the first quarter playing catch up.

Why not try something different this year that will have real meaningful impact on your business?

Instead of trying to set resolutions or hoping business will improve ask yourself the most important business question of the year:

If I were to start my business from scratch with the knowledge I have today, how would it look different?

Most of us who have successfully owned a business for a long time are constantly looking to improve, upgrade or grow the business we have. Sadly, that isn’t enough in today’s business environment – ask Blockbuster.

Blockbuster created an industry and dominated it, and then technology shifted. Blockbuster was the best distributor of VCR products. Every year they worked to improve their title offerings, make their locations more customer friendly, and their staff more knowledgeable. The problem was they were asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking what can we do to be better, they should have been asking: If we started today how would we be different?

Netflix showed them how a new start up thinking fresh can completely change the marketplace leaving the industry leader filing bankruptcy – because they failed to ask the right question.

Netflix learning from Blockbuster’s mistake are now asking this all important question again and forcing their organization and entice customers to join them on the video on demand trend with streaming video.

Look at your business. What are you upgrading you need to overhaul? In what ways are the new competitors kicking your butt? Can’t see it? Don’t believe it? Look harder! Try these 25 questions on for size.

Guarantee: If honestly answering all of these questions doesn’t dramatically improve your business write me at and tell me about it. I will make a donation to your favorite charity in your name for wasting your time!

What new technology makes your systems crap by comparison?

What hours should you be open for business to maximize revenue?

What leadership skills and energy level should be at the helm of your business?

What does your web presence look like?

What social media maximization are you working on?

Where is your mobile phone app?

How are you hiring people differently today?

Are you still wasting time on reading/reviewing resumes?

Why are YOU leading your business? (Remember the bulletproof feeling you had when you started your new business or new position? How does that feel now?)

Do you clearly know your customers?

If you didn’t own/run the business would you still want to be a customer of your place?

Why do you sell your products the way you do?

Does that approach even apply today?

Why are you selling the products and services you are currently offering?

What do you call marketing these days? Why are you using those methods of getting the word out?

How is your product packaged? Why?

Who are you employing? Why?

How often are you completely changing your customer approach?

What in your business is a “VHS tape” in a digital video world?

When was the last time you learned a brand new skill that impacted your business?

If you had an unlimited budget to make a commercial, what would it look like?

How can you make close to that with what you can afford right now?

How can you create such customer draw they will stand in line to get what you are offering?

What corners are you cutting because you are lazy/tired/it’s the economy/it’s good enough/I am just not as committed as I once was?

What process/employee/product/system has a lot in common with a full diaper but you just do not want to face the fact you need to do something about it?

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