What Does Your Company Do?
Written by Linda Rolf on 8/31/2020
"If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else."
--- Yogi Berra
How many times has someone asked you the dreaded question "What does your company do?" Dreaded because you know you should have a snappy, engaging reply, one that naturally leads to "Really, tell me more."
Instead you dive in with the easy default answer – the long list of products and services your company provides.
Or maybe you offer something vague like "We're a technology company." If you have ever asked 5 random people what technology means to them, you know just how meaningless or misleading that reply is.
Wrong. Boring. Relationship opportunity meets dead end road.
Here's the disappointing reality. No one cares about us and what we do. The real question you are being asked is "How will you solve my problem?". What we all want is for our problems to be solved as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Obviously, you have no idea what this chance encounter's problem is unless he shared it with you before asking what you do. In that case, the answer can be easier --- if you have adopted the customer-first storytelling mindset.
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Why We Rewrote Our Company's Story
Quest Technology Group provides a broad range of technology, business growth, and marketing services. Yes, technology is in our name which can be misleading, but we will leave that conversation for another day. We found it challenging to answer the "What does your company do?" question with clarity. Instead we rattled off a list of services, hoping that the listener would eventually say "Ah, got it" to one of them. This was not a fruitful strategy.
There had to be a better way.
We have always considered ourselves to be customer-first thinkers and listeners. We become deeply invested in our clients and enjoy long relationships with them as a result. It was only logical then to step back and ask ourselves the core question "What problems do we solve for our clients?".
More than 28 years ago our first client made this comment to me ---
"The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they deliver."
That observation surprised me because at the time we thought of ourselves as a software development company. That single sentence has served as a constant reminder all these years that lasting value for a client goes much deeper than obvious products and services. Value is in the eye of the client --- the receiver ---not the creator.
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Knowing that we had to more clearly communicate our commitment to solving real problems, we began reshaping our company's story. These points became the foundation from which our customer-centered story grew ---
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We knew that if we were struggling to answer that one simple "What does your company do?" question with clarity and purpose, other companies were likely facing the same challenge. We decided to share our approach to continuous listening, learning, and storytelling.
The workbooks in this Growth Strategy Series
are the evolving tools we are using ourselves every day. We hope you will have as much fun on this journey as we are.
As you will quickly discover, your customers will become actively involved in building your story as well. Your shared storytelling uncovers amazing opportunities for both of you. This is the place where mutual growth and lasting value happen.
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Connecting the Dots
Your story will have meaning and purpose. What you think you deliver, what your clients think they receive, and the real problems you can solve right now become a connected story.
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Action Item 1
: Gather your team together and get started with your Growth Strategy Workbook Part 1
As you work your way through the questions, you will discover that telling your story from your customers' perspectives changes the way you see what they really want from your company.
Tags: Business Strategy
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is a lifelong curious learner. She is fueled by discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner. They actively contribute to each client's success through mutual collaboration, thoughtful business analysis, enterprise software development, technology integration, database design and management, opportunity discovery, business growth strategy, and marketing initiatives.
They believe that lasting value and trust are created through continuously listening, sharing knowledge freely and delivering more than their clients even know they need. As the CIO of their first startup client said, "The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they develop."