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Finding your drivers

The theory (or thinking behind your business) is the most important thing in your business; it drives everything and it’s what we should be focussed on and measuring.

Our theory at Sackmans that if we bring you interesting, thought provoking and useful business insights then you will use and recommend us. So, at one level…if this post bores you then the chances are it and we will not be a success. But, if it fundamentally changes your entire view of using numbers to manage your business then I think we have more chance of being successful.

This is why I am interested to get feedback from people about our blog. The higher the scores for the blog the more chance we have at being successful by winning and retaining the best clients.

So, here is a four step formula for developing your business theory and finding your business drivers:

Step 1 – observe

To construct a theory you just need to start by observing the world and asking “what is important to your customers?” And you need to challenge yourself with questions like:

  • How do you know what your customers want?
  • How do you know what will bring a customer back?
  • How do you know what will get a customer to refer your business?


Now, this is observation of the real world. This is not an ivory tower theory process.  It requires you to go out in the real world and observe human behaviour and talk to people. 

Step 2 – categorise

Next, you and have to categorise and rank what is important.

Some things are much more important than other things so you need to rank the criteria. And, you need to simplify it. What are the top three things that matter to your customer?

Step 3 explain

You need to be able to predict or explain the theory. This is the “so what” part.

If someone says to you “so what does this mean” you need to be able to say something like “if we do these three things customers will be happy and 95% will return”. When you can say this you know that your theory and the measurements or judgements has predictive power.

Step 4 prove

Finally, you confirm or disprove the theory and if it doesn’t work you develop another theory.

It could be that you need to go through the process a couple of times because what you think customers care about may not be what they care about most. And, you will also need to go through this on an ongoing basis because customer behaviour changes. Humans are not static, we change and evolve.

Our expectations are evolving every day. Our customers’ expectations are being shaped by other organisations that are not even your competitors. You may not run an amusement park but if your customers go to Disney World then they are going to experience a level of customer service that is going to make them less tolerant of bad service of every other organisation they deal with.

The chances are your customer and potential customers are using brands like Apple, FedEx and buying things from Amazon and in doing so they are receiving great customer service.

So, you may need to up your game!

Think about a hotel which changes your towels and bed sheets every day. You are probably only going to care if they you don’t do it! Or, do it wrong with dirt on the towels or sheets.

Fresh bed sheets and new towels is not going to make you go back or tell your friends because that is something that is a basic expectation. So, this is a never ending process. What should we measure and what is important to our customers.

Now, this may seem like all this is hard work but I prefer to think of it as smart work. It is basically developing a business strategy, designing and innovation which is where you get maximum leverage.

A good idea can come to you in a second and literally be worth millions. It can be the difference between you working hard for the rest of your life or having financial independence.

It is also a fantastic opportunity because if you can develop a better theory than your competitor and use measurements and judgement more effectively, then you will discover, develop and retain competitive advantage.

Now, it’s your turn…you need to stop reading and start thinking. This is how you are going to beat the competition, you need to out-smart them because there are always bigger and stronger competition who have more money than you.

If you’d like some help then book an On-Track Review.