These are two crucial questions that need to be answered in order to come to grips with what your

business purpose and mission is.


The answers are not always easy to find.


What is your business?

Nothing may seem simpler or more obvious than to know what a company's business is. A steel mill makes

steel; a railroad runs trains; an insurance company underwrites fire risks; and a bank lends money.


However, the question: 'What is your business?' can only be answered by looking at the business from the

outside, from the point of view of the customer and the market.


What the customer sees, thinks, believes, and wants, at any given time, must be accepted by management

as an objective fact and must be taken as seriously as the reports of the salesperson, the tests of the

engineer, or the figures of the accountant.


Management should talk to at least one customer every week. Ask them how they see your company, what

they think of it, what kind of company they believe it is and what they want from it.


Who is your customer?

How this question is answered determines, in large measure, how the business defines itself.


Most businesses have at least two customers. Both have to buy if there is to be a sale. For example,

manufacturers of branded consumer goods have two customers: the supermarket and the housewife.


It is no good having the housewife eager to buy if the supermarket doesn't stock the brand. Conversely, it

does not do much good to have the supermarket display the goods if the housewife doesn't want to buy.


Take one of your products or services that you offer and determine how many kinds of customers you

have for it. Then figure out if you are satisfying all of your different kinds of customers or if there are categories

that you are ignoring.


Source: Management- Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, Peter F. Drucker.