Really successful businesses don’t just happen. They come about because they know why their customers hire them to get a job done well. This deep understanding of their customers’ ‘jobs to be done’ provides the business with an competitive advantage which is difficult to copy by their competitors. Businesses like Amazon, Ikea and Google are testament to this approach.
Successful businesses do this by understanding what their customer needs doing and then putting processes in place that allows the customer to get the job done beyond what the customer expected.
So instead of focussing on the products/services their business offers, they focus on the job their customer needs doing. This job centric approach is then used to devise systems and processes, marketing approaches, as well as their company mission statement and messages, and base all of their their business decisions, around this approach. They then measure the success of their business by the success of their customers’ jobs being done.
Follow these steps to develop a job-centric approach in your business and secure your competitive advantage in 2017:
Know the job your customer is hiring you to do
Instead of thinking of your business from the perspective of the products/services that it offers, consider what job your customer is hiring you to do to solve their pain or gain point.
Let’s use a bookkeeper to illustrate this. A bookkeeper is not just getting a business’s finances ready for monthly, quarterly or annual tax reporting. The job they are doing for their clients is:
- Giving their clients’ lives back by allowing them to spend more time with their family (or on their business)
- Providing their clients peace of mind as they clients know that they are only paying the tax they have to pay, and on time, and/or
- Improving their clients’ business by increasing their cash flow by invoicing promptly and only paying bills when they are due
Know what stops your customers from hiring your products/services
Getting the right message out to your potential customers about why they should hire your products/services will be driven by your understanding of what stops your potential customers hiring your products/services in the first place.
Take our bookkeeper. They need to know that potential clients may not ‘hire’ their bookkeeping services because:
- They are embarrassed to let another person know they don’t understand business financials
- They they don’t know whether they can trust another person with their business financials
- They would need to expose their business performance to a stranger who may judge them
- They would become accountable to another person about how they send their business’s money
Capturing testimonials from existing customers about how your business provides the perfect solution for the job they need done, as well as asking existing customers to write a ‘review’ on your business’s “Google my business” listing, will help your potential customers more easily make the final ‘hire’ decision.
Know who and what you are really competing against
Understanding what other options your potential customers have when making a decision to hire something to get their job done, or if they are compensating in some other way as a ‘quick fix’ to get their job done, is really important. Also, if the potential client already hires a product/service to get the job done, what are your competing against so the potential client will fire this product/service so they can hire your product/service?
For our bookkeeper, they need to know that they are not only competing with other bookkeepers, but they are also competing with the following as alternative options for getting the clients’ job done:
- Accountants or Tax agents
- Casual/in-house employees or family members who will do their finances
- Accounting software with automated services such as matching bank entries to cash in / cash out entries
- Organisations which allow automated direct debiting of bills
Potential customers may also have obstacles which makes the buying process difficult. For our bookkeeper potential clients, this could be:
- The anxiety of knowing which bookkeeper to ‘hire’
- The thought of having to change what their already do now, or taking the time to set up new processes
- Knowing what to do with their old systems or knowing how to fire other solutions
- Finding the money to pay a bookkeeper
Establish the processes which will secure your competitive advantage
Once you really understand the job that your customers is hiring you to do, as well as the obstacles and other competing options which are available, you can now establish your competitive advantage through end to end job centric processes.
You do this be determining what your business offers (or should be offering):
- that is different to these competing/compensating options
- which helps overcome any obstacles your potential customer faces in hiring your product/service (as well as maybe having to ‘fire’ something else), and
- which will mean your potential customer will be more successful or will find it easier to get their job done.
For our bookkeeper these could be providing an ‘enquire to hire’ solution:
- Providing easy to customise template business finance policies and processes
- Setting up ‘I have my life back’ or ‘Money saving’ folder or shared Dropbox folder for their client to easily share and file documentation
- Setting up a mobile app on their client’s mobile phone which allows the clients to:
- collect payment or invoice for products/services on the go
- photograph all their receipts as they receive them and then share them through Showboxed
- Providing easy to understand and action financial reports
- Sending regular (and automated) SMS/email reminders about key dates / actions
To help the potential client make the transition, the bookkeeper should offer a one month ‘Acquire before you hire’ trial period. During this time, the bookkeeper calculates how much money/time they have saved their client by hiring them to get their job done, and done really well.
These end to end processes then become the ‘job you are solving’ blueprint for the bookkeeper to follow and keep improving on, and which is very difficult for your competitors to copy.
Acknowledgement: This post was based on the concept of ‘Jobs to be done’ or ‘Jobs theory’, a theory developed by Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, David S. Duncan. For more information about this theory read Competing against Luck.
Contact us now (email or [+61] 0400 732 270) to discuss how we can help you secure your competitive advantage in 2017 through establishing a job centric approach in your business.