business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I like reading the daily blog postings of author/entrepreneur Seth Godin, and this week he wrote one about outsourcing.

"Everything we do uses materials and tools that were made by someone else," he writes, but suggests that "the question that isn’t asked, but that must be asked, is: Which part are you going to do yourself?"

If you want corn for dinner, for example, you have choices ranging from planting it yourself and waiting for it to grow, going to the supermarket to buy some, or ordering it online and waiting for someone to deliver it.

There's no bad choice, necessarily, but there always are choices.

And that's when he asked a question that I think is really important:

What are you doing today that only you can do? 

Let me translate that into retail-speak:

What products and services are you offering in your store that only you can offer?

Or, to use a word that became ubiquitous during the pandemic, but that I haven't heard anybody else using in recent months:

What makes you essential to your shoppers?

I would argue that if you cannot answer that question, and then defend your answer,  then you have an issue, and very little time in which to address it.

The answer to the question ought to be an Eye-Opener.  And if you don't have an answer, well, that's a very different kind of Eye-Opener.