What are you putting first?

What are you putting first?

All great business leaders know that in order to succeed in business, you have to lead or be first: First to market, first in technology, first in product development. And to be successful in communications, you have to be aware and understand some other fundamental “firsts.”

Target first: There is no way to emphasize this enough – businesses that lose sight of their customers, fail. Sometimes this is attributed to “market changes” but what actually changes is people. (More importantly, the people who are buying your product.) You do not determine if your business succeeds or fails, people do. Never lose sight of this fundamental fact or you too will wonder, ”how can we be shrinking when we have such a great product?” When you develop your communications, know and understand who needs to act to bring you success. Get to know this person as an individual before you begin creating your communications campaign.

Benefits first: Once you know your target “person,” figure out how you are going to improve his or her life. Will you provide more time for them to spend with their family, let them keep more of their money, or make an unpleasant experience enjoyable? And keep this in mind: this isn’t what your product or service can do, it’s how you make your target’s life better, whether it be big or small. It’s not your product, it’s their benefit. (Our favorite metaphor for this is that people aren’t buying drills, they are buying the holes.)

First impression: Even great businesses lose sight of the simple, undeniable fact that a first impression can’t be taken back and is so foundational. So, don’t rush it. Before an important presentation, most of us are concerned that our appearance, information, and everything we want to communicate is spot on. We know that this first presentation will define how we will be perceived for a long time. But surprisingly, people don’t put this same thought and foresight into communications that may be seen by thousands of people. Just make sure you do the same planning before you craft your communications. Is the message simple, meaningful and truthful? Does it look and feel like you? Make it your own and make it great. Don’t copy others or just slap it together. If you’ve put your target first and understand your benefits, this won’t be as difficult as you think.

Being first in your business requires being first in many aspects of your business. So what are your firsts?