Some of you will answer that you are selling the solution to the problems for the target market. It’s the correct answer.
Some of you will answer that you are selling satisfied needs for your customers. That’s also the correct answer.
However, what I see as the possible dangerous situations for entrepreneurs is that all of these answers have a very tiny view on the real situation on the target market.
Today’s and future markets are as an ecosystem. Their needs and the solutions offered to them are not simple products and services. This is maybe one of the most important conclusions that you must make for your future improvements and alignments with your business.
Yes, your core business is selling products or services, but you need to sell much more of that if you want to sustain on the market.
For example, Apple sells the product (hardware – iPhone, iPad), but also sells other’s people’s products as applications and games or other business products as newspapers or magazines. Do you think that Apple will have today’s success if the company didn’t succeed in attracting designers and businesses that add value to their basic product? Evidence on the same market is Nokia, and their today’s problems even they have great products but didn’t have the appropriate ecosystem around the products.
Your products and services are only one small part of your total offer. Your total offer can be your products and everything else with which your business adds values in the eye of your customers. That everything else can be:
- Internal, from your business (associated products or services, logistics, guarantee, warranty, bonuses, pricing, customer support, deliverability, availability…)
- External, from other businesses and people’s (products and services that are related to your products and services and can improve the overall satisfaction of your customers, but are provided from other people’s or businesses).
Now, where are your products and services in this war of ecosystems?
Definition of Ecosystems
In Wikipedia ecosystem is defined:
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving (abiotic), physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight.
But, there is also a definition of business ecosystems:
An economic community supported by a foundation of interacting organizations and individuals—the organisms of the business world. This economic community produces goods and services of value to customers, who are themselves members of the ecosystem. The member organizations also include suppliers, lead producers, competitors, and other stakeholders. Over time, they co-evolve their capabilities and roles, and tend to align themselves with the directions set by one or more central companies. Those companies holding leadership roles may change over time, but the function of ecosystem leader is valued by the community because it enables members to move toward shared visions to align their investments and to find mutually supportive roles.
How to Find External Add-Ons?
To find possible external add-ons for your business you must answer on the following questions:
- Who really are your customers?
- What are their real needs?
- What is something that they want in your products and services?
- How are they using your products and services?
- How can we satisfy their broader needs?
- Who are possible partners for my business?
What do you think? Can you implement this strategy for the future?