How your sustainable business is like a home improvement store.

Last Saturday I found myself, yet again, at my local big-box home improvement store. Like many homeowners, I find myself there more than I ever thought I would.

The difference with last Saturday was that I was there before 8:30 in the morning. Reasonably early to be out shopping for 2×4’s, I thought.

But, like I so often am, I was wrong.

The place was packed.

As I strolled through the aisles, looking for one obscure piece of DIY necessity after another, I couldn’t help but analyze my fellow shoppers.

Like me, most were there for multiple reasons.

DIYers really do like to do things ourselves (hence the name Do-It-Yourself-ers). There’s great satisfaction in having a vision and seeing it through with your own hands. But… if we had the choice to, say, be walking around a home improvement store at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, or lying in bed with the weekend paper and an extra cup of coffee… would we really be there?

Probably not.

So, that puts us early birds in a few different categories.

  1. We needed to be there. A pipe burst, the fridge stopped working, there’s a leak or a break somewhere, and we either a) know how to fix it ourselves or b) can’t afford to hire someone to do it for us. This type of DIYer enjoys the outcome, but sometimes the journey is a bit much.
  2. We actually really wanted to be there. There’s really nothing we love more than analyzing a problem from all sides, finding a solution, and driving to the store at 8:30 on a Saturday morning to get it done. This is the wonderful sort of person that enjoys not just the outcome of a DIY project, but the journey.

See the difference? We need to be there, or we want to be there.

How does this fit into your Sustainable Business?

With a sustainable business, you have to find a way to market yourself to both the people who want your product and the people who need your product.

And then the trickier part, how to make yourself attractive to the person who wants to want your product or service, but really just wants the outcome to materialize in front of them.

For example, when it comes to home improvement projects, I personally land somewhere in the middle of the need/want example. I love the satisfaction of a home improvement project that I’ve done myself and done well. But sometimes the journey feels a bit more like punishment than joy. Would I rather be spending my Saturday out for a hike? Hands-down, yes.

So why am I there?

That’s the question you need to answer as a sustainable business in today’s crowded market. Why, really, is someone looking for your product or service?

Then, use one of a myriad of ways to get all three of those people – the wants, the needs, and the people in the middle – in front of what you’re offering.

What you’re really doing when you ask this question is getting yourself to the core desire of your potential clients. What do they really want out of doing business with you?

Well, let me put it this way.

I’m at my home improvement store at 8:30 on a Saturday morning not because I want to be there. Not because I want to spend my hard-earned money on 2×4’s and lug nuts. Not because I want to spend my weekend remodeling my kitchen.

Yes, I do get a secondary benefit, which is the satisfaction of doing this project myself. Perhaps a tertiary benefit is the satisfaction of saving the money from not hiring someone else to do it.

But the real, core benefit is farther off.

I’m at this store bright and early on this beautiful fall morning because someday, I’m going to reap some major benefits of the time I’m putting in now.

Perhaps it will be on a morning I really can make a perfect cup of coffee in my beautiful new kitchen and then luxuriate in not heading to the hardware store. PerhapsĀ the benefit will be the money I will someday see in return when I sell this house. Or perhaps the benefit will really just be the absence of the activity I’m doing right now.

But in the end, I’ll get a beautiful new kitchen. That’s what I really want.

So, what does your prospect really want out of your sustainable business?

Dig deep, find the answer, and sell them that.

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