You're in what?

More than ever we seem to be hearing about businesses and industries in decline -- ones that are losing market share to their competitors; ones that have been focusing exclusively on product improvements with no success; ones that have hired top notch sales people with little ROI.  What's curious is the common reason...

They're not sure what business they're in. 

It's not as obvious as you might think.  Try asking your staff.  Call them all into a room ad hoc and ask them to anonymously write down what business you're in.  Then read them aloud one at a time.  Chances are, you'll be shocked.  What's worse is to discover a consensus...that's incorrect.

An example from our friends at Google -- it's not in the search business, it's in the online auction business.

Once you've figured out what business you're actually in, then follow one simple rule -- the one that many executives and leaders fail to sustain even if they know it. 

Concentrate on meeting customer needs rather than selling your products.

We were reminded of this after re-reading a brilliant piece by one of the greatest marketing maven's of all time.

So, what business are you in?