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What business are you really in?

It’s not the most obvious one.

Do you think Zappos is in the online retail business? Not according to Tony Hsieh:

 

Because they’re in ‘the stories & memories business’ they operate differently than traditional retailers. In their eyes they don’t compete with Amazon, they compete with the Ritz Carlton.

If you frame yourself just like everyone else, you’ll copy everyone else. Look deeper and wider, change the frame. What business are you really in?

If you can’t answer this question, here are a few questions to help you know what business you’re really in:

  1. Why do your customers come to you?
  2. When do they buy β€” and for whom?
  3. Where are the biggest margins in your business?
  4. If your company vanished tomorrow, where would your customers go?

Again, what business are you really in?

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