All businesses exist to provide something of value to a customer. If the customer no longer perceives the product or service to be of value then the business ceases to exist.
Benjamin Franklin 250 years ago gave us these gems in relation to business
- “Lay a good foundation in regard to principle: Be sure not willfully to overreach, or deceive your neighbor; but always keep in your eye the golden rule as doing as you would be done unto.”
- “Endeavor to be as much in your shop, or in whatever place your business properly lies, as possibly you can. Your presence may prevent the loss of a good customer.”
- “Be complaisant to the meanest, as well as the greatest. You are as much obliged to use good manners for a farthing as a pound.”
- “Be not too talkative, but speak as much as is necessary to recommend your goods. If customers slight your goods, and undervalue them, endeavor to convince them of their mistake, if you can, but do not affront them: do not be pert in your answers, but with patience hear, and with meekness give an answer; for if you affront in a small matter, it may probably hinder you from a future good customer.”
- “Strive to maintain a fair character in the world: That will be the best means for advancing your credit, gaining you the most flourishing trade, and enlarging your fortune.”
- “Condescend to no mean action, but add a luster to trade, by keeping up the dignity of your nature.”
The most basic business purpose is to provide value for the customer. All your competitors are likewise trying to provide value for the customer. The only thing that differentiates you is the degree to which you are providing value, hence giving you larger market share. Also how you are anticipating your customer’s changing needs will determine whether you will stay in business over the longer term.