As a business owner, it can feel like you’re constantly being pulled in a million different directions when it comes to balancing your customer and business needs.
The fact is, there’s a lot that goes into owning a company that many people don’t consider when they’re first starting a business. You’ve got to manage operations, accounting, marketing, and staff management duties, and that’s not to mention sales and customer retention.
Owning and operating a successful business is all about expertly balancing the needs of your clients, your coworkers and your company in a way that works well for all of them. Maybe this sounds easy on paper, but in practice, it’s quite challenging.
Clients, prospective clients, and coworkers all have unique needs and demands that can make it feel as though your job is simply to play the go-between for them. This sometimes means your company’s growth goals end up getting lost in the fray.
In order to keep your business running and revenue steady, you need to keep your customers at the forefront. You know that your clients have come to you for a reason and that your business provides them with a service that they need. Your customers also have an objective to get the most they can for their investment and to make sure they get the best possible experience. It’s up to you to determine what they can realistically expect and what you’re able to offer them.
If your contracts are well-written and specific, you and your clients will know exactly what falls within your scope of work and what services and products are outside the realm of your agreement. If a customer’s demands consistently exceed the contracted service, it’s time to renegotiate.
What are business needs?
Business needs represent any resource, practice, or method that a business or organization must have in place in order to meet its financial requirements.
Many different types of businesses exist, and they’re started for a million different reasons. Some companies are launched with purely practical or financial motivations. Others, as illustrated by the famous “Golden Circle theory”, are created with more idealistic intentions.
Whatever the individual company case may be, the reality is that basic “needs” are different for every organization.
When seeking to understand what your needs are, you must realize that your individual needs will largely depend on your specific company goals and what you’ve predetermined success will look like for you.
If you’re looking to identify exactly what your needs are, it can make sense to look backward to when you were starting a business in the first place and consider what your goals were. This can help illustrate the resources, methods, and means that may be required to attain the revenue and growth goals you’ve set.
Business needs vs business wants
Every company owner has an endless list of things they’d love to see happen with their business. From the basics, such as increasing their customer base and growing revenue, to more aspirational goals, like becoming an influential brand on social media or being able to give back and make a difference in their community. Pie-in-the-sky goals like these are great to have, but they aren’t what keeps a business running. There are basic minimum needs that businesses must meet in order to remain operational.
To help illustrate the difference between business wants and business needs, let’s look at a list of actual business necessities.
Business need examples
The following six essentials represent true business needs that anyone operating a company must address in order to maintain a functioning organization.
- Products or services to sell
Without a product or service, there is no need for a business to exist.
If a for-profit business lacks any paying clients, it won’t exist long in the market.
Even if a business owner starts out as the sole person working for their company, this still counts as employment! Most businesses ultimately require at least a couple of employees to operate successfully.
In this modern age, business infrastructure includes a business’s physical or digital location, its website, and the software and computers used to carry out business operations.
- Systems and Processes
This category includes anything from the way orders and shipments are handled, to how appointments and payments are scheduled. Without systems and processes in a work setting, a business will descend into chaos.
Some small businesses may operate without a large marketing budget, but even if you’re only counting word of mouth or hanging up a sign on your door, no business today truly operates long without some form of promotion.
Business needs vs. customer needs
Your business is your pride and joy, and it can be hard to separate the importance of pursuing your business needs and wants from meeting your current customer needs. Time and resource management are key, and as you work toward your growth goals, you need to strike a balance between your customer needs and the needs of your business.
This can be a tough line to walk for many business owners. So as you’re setting your sales and growth goals, make sure that you’re setting attainable goals and that you’re being selective about the clients you take on. Remember that it’s okay to turn down a client if servicing them is outside of your comfort level or current business needs and capabilities.
So, after starting a business and getting it up and running, how do you best identify your customer needs and expectations?
If the clients you choose to work with have high requirements, but aren’t paying enough to justify the amount of time you’re spending meeting those needs, it may be time to reassess that customer relationship. In order to grow your business and meet your goals, you need to work with clients who see you as a valued partner.
Employee needs In an organization
Your brand values not only inform your sales position and marketing materials for customers but also your internal company culture.
The employee needs in an organization are just as important as any other needs. After all, when it comes to meeting your client expectations and achieving your business growth goals, your employees are the ones who are executing the day-to-day work to make it happen.
The employee needs in an organization will continue to evolve as the workforce evolves. And, as all business owners know, it’s more difficult than ever to hire and retain experienced talent.
When you’re working to acquire new business and acquire new talent at the same time, you’ll likely never be able to match your staffing needs, and your overall business needs 100% — but your goal should always be to work toward that balance.
How to figure out your business needs
When it comes to discovering what your true needs are and addressing them, while at the same time maintaining balance among your clients, your company, and your coworkers, each one brings unique demands to the table that sometimes seem to conflict.
In order to resolve these conflicts, you need to find ways to save time and money so you can pass these savings along to each member of the trifecta. It may help to carry out periodical business assessments to help achieve this goal.
Business needs assessment
It’s no secret that every business owner will face challenges along the path to success. And it can be difficult to find time to hit pause and run a business needs assessment. However, the intent behind such an exercise is to identify areas where your business can improve with regard to the products or services you’re offering, the individuals you employ, or those you do business with.
It’s vital to step back now and then to analyze how your business is doing, identify gaps in performance, and make plans to adjust for improvement.
Business needs analysis
If you find that reviews or the popularity of your product or service are slipping, or you’re having a harder time than usual retaining employees or attracting new customers, it may be time to run a business needs analysis.
A business needs analysis is a specific type of business needs assessment in which you identify core requirements that need to be addressed and find fixes for the business problems holding you back from achieving your business goals.
Gaining back your balance
It’s not unusual for business owners to become bogged down from time to time as a result of the effort it takes to manage the many needs of their company, employees, and clients. Luckily, a solution can be found in keeping your focus on what inspired you to go into business in the first place.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed juggling your many business obligations, you can start by going back to the basics! Reevaluate and establish your true priorities by running a business needs assessment, and you’ll be back on track with your balancing act in no time.