The Business You’re Not In: A Basic Of Best Staff Performance


Business success demands that you have a crystal clear business focus and a narrow, clearly defined target market. You’ve heard it from me countless times. And I’m still a passionate believer in that approach.

The Law Of Sacrifice

In deciding “what business you’re in”, you must also decide “what business you’re not in”. You must obey what market gurus Al Reis and Jack Trout call The Law of Sacrifice: what you’ll give up so that you can specialize.

What You Say: What They Hear

Of course you must be careful. As my mate Bix Berry reminds us: “The business you’re in is the business your clients and prospects perceive you to be in”. It’s not what you tell your clients and prospects, it’s what they believe. It’s a perception issue, not a matter of logic and reason.

You can tell clients and prospects what business you’re in. But it’s what they believe that determines their response.

Issues For Staff Performance

If you want your employees to make their best possible contribution to the business they need to be absolutely clear about

  • Your definite target market
  • How your define business success

Directing Employee Energy

All your employees’ workplace energy should be directed towards improved staff performance  in those terms. But there are two sides to this argument. You must do your best to ensure that employee performance enhances your business success.

You must also ensure that employees don’t expend effort doing things that don’t enhance business success.

Some Basics Employees Must Grasp

  • You can’t be all things to all people. The era of the department store as the epitome of good business is long gone. If you don’t agree have a look at the recent history of the US vehicle market. All major manufactures try to have a “car in every category”. A Ford or Chevvie could be a sports car, family sedan, SVU, commercial van or luxury car. But everyone knows what a Jeep is. That’s why Jeep has been the biggest selling SVU for decades and still is.
  • Perception is vital.  “The business you’re in”, as Bix Berry says, “is the business that prospects and clients perceive you to be in”. the perception of prospects and clients is far more important to the success of your business than the sound, logical comparative reasons you promote in your marketing.
  • Prospects and customers want value. They want your product or service to solve a business problem they have. They assess price in terms of the value it provides their business in their terms.
  • What business you’re not in as well as the business you are in


Business success is what matters most. When someone suggest a change or improvement to your systems, focus or target market, always ask “What benefits will such a change bring to the business?”

In a nutshell, your employees must know precisely what business you’re in and your specific market. They must also know what you don’t sell and the prospects you don’t seek to sell it to. One without the other restricts superior staff performance.

What To Do Now

What systems do you have in place to ensure that employees know both “the business you’re in” and “the business you’re not in”. Are your employees fully familiar with the influence of perception or prospect and customer opinions?

What can you do now to ensure that employees understand the difference and why it’s so important to business success?


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