You started your business with a value proposition – your product or service.  You had something to sell that people bought to either to get a job done more efficiently or cheaply, or to solve a problem, or something that they wanted (but not necessarily needed).  Often at SCORE we see people come in with a product or service already in existence.  But when we start asking questions about who their customers will be, whether they will pay what you are asking in order for you to make a profit, who their competition is and why their customers will switch and buy from you, things sometimes begin to unravel.

It seems almost unnecessary to ask if you really know your customer.  But do you?  How well do you know them?  Are they the same today as they were yesterday when you started?  Is there a new competitor who has entered your market space that you may not have paid attention to yet?  Might they be better, cheaper, or closer in location to your normal customers?  In the world we live in today things can often happen so fast that if you aren’t constantly monitoring your customers and your competition, the business model that you have been using suddenly may not be as valid any more.

The light at the end of the tunnel could be a train.  Don’t let yourself get run over.

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