The ancient Greeks speculated about the basic building blocks of  matter and called them atoms. We all try to reduce things down to their basic elements. In order to understand complexity, it’s helpful to break things into their fundamental pieces. Once you know what the pieces are and how they work you can assemble them into components and systems with a better understanding of how the whole thing operates.
This started me wondering about the fundamental elements of business and I quickly concluded it all depends upon your business perspective. If you take a product-oriented view, the “feature” is your atom. Products are composed of many features. Lists are made of desirable features. Some features are selected for the next product and others are deferred. You compare your features to your competitor’s features. Even in your communications, you talk about your product’s features or you talk about the benefits your product’s features provide.
If your company has a strong financial or operational perspective, your atomic view is based on “dollars”. You carefully track how many dollars you collect, how many dollars it costs to generate that revenue and your cash position is measured in dollars. Annual performance goals for employees may be based on how many dollars they are able to bring in or how few they spend.
The value-driven company has an external view. The basic element for these companies is a “user experience”. It’s the sum of these experiences that make up the value a customer gains in doing business with your company. These experiences are of many different types. The most obvious is operational. By using your company’s product, does the customer achieve an outcome they want? For example, can they now calculate the dollar value of their sales funnel with your CRM system? Experiences extend beyond the operational. They can include the ease or difficulty of getting a question answered, training
options to learn the capabilities of a new release or the challenge of migrating their old database to your new software.
Peter Drucker said the purpose of a business is to create a customer. Therefore it seems like the experience atom would be the most useful building block with which to understand and improve the relationship between your company and your intended customer.

Beyond features, dollars or experiences, are there other elements you’ve found helpful in thinking about your business?
7/1/2014 05:47:58 pm

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