No matter what business you might think you’re in, sooner or later you are also a marketing organization.
You might manufacture the best widgets in the world. You might have the finest hardware store in eight states. You might be staffed with the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff in the entire region. You might have the most competitive prices, or the most up to date computer assisted inventory control and accounting software available. You might even have the smartest and most experienced management team ever.
But without customers coming through the door, which is what marketing is all about, it’s all for nothing!
Now, what I’ve said here should theoretically be as obvious as the sun coming up in the morning. But, unfortunately, the reality is that many small businesses somehow lose sight of this fundamental fact. They get so caught-up in the day-to-day operational tasks of their business that they start to take customers for granted.
Or even worse, start to think of “customers” as an unwelcome interruption in what they see as the more important responsibilities of running their business. How many times have you phoned a business that answered the call with a curt, even border-line snarling, “Acme Widget!”? Clearly sending you the message that you were interrupting something they considered more important than your call?
It was none other than the late Peter Drucker — the Albert Einstein of management gurus — who, in his 1954 classic Practice of Management, said it so perfectly: “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence.”