What is the real reason for a lack of customers?

In a recent post, the US Chamber of Commerce posted the results of a quick poll. One of the questions was regarding the biggest obstacle to creating jobs. The greatest number of respondents said that lack of sufficient customers was the biggest obstacle. Here is my response to the Chamber on their blog:

I noticed that your poll indicates the largest obstacle to creating jobs is lack of customers. It is time for us to get away from the notion that we can keep doing what we have always done yet expect different or better results. Why we keep doing that is a mystery to me.

We must get better at creating Value Innovation. If you have value without innovation, it doesn’t give you much advantage, your competitor will quickly catch up. If you have innovation without value, it won’t be commercially successful, no one will buy. If you truly create Value Innovation, you will be providing a product or service that is in high demand, will be difficult for the competition to duplicate and you will be making a good profit in the process.

The tools of strategy creation have traditionally been the SWOT analysis, “throw ideas on the wall and see what sticks” method of brainstorming and financial histories. Keep using these tools and you will keep getting the same results.

The new tools that will create value innovation are extremely effective and will help you make four strategic moves that will make an enormous difference in your business. Those four strategic moves are:

1. Eliminate those competitive factors your customers really don’t care about. They waste your resources and don’t get you any more or better business. You are probably just trying to keep up with the competition by providing them.

2. Reduce your investment in the competitive factors you need to offer but not at the level you are currently offering them.

3. Raise your investment in those factors that the market values but isn’t getting enough of

4. Create new value the industry has never before seen.

These are not my concepts, but the concepts of Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, authors of the book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant. I do happen to be a Qualified BOS consultant and have blogged about many of the tools and methods at For a free two page summary review of the book, email your request to

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Posted by Dr. Sarah Layton in Growth on June 29, 2011.

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