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Tony Robbins on Acing the Age-Old Question ‘What Does Your Company Do?’

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What business are you in? No, I mean what business are you really in? In other words, what core benefit do you deliver to your prospective client beyond the category or industry in which you’ve built your career? Here’s how to pivot to a much more powerful response.

One of the most powerful lessons Tony Robbins teaches at Business Mastery is to know where you really are and create an effective business map to where you want to go. Sounds simple enough, but most companies struggle to clearly articulate the business value of what they do for their customers.

Take my marketing firm, Trepoint, for example. If someone asked me, “So, what business are you in?” the short answer might be, “Digital marketing.” But that does nothing to inspire the person I’m talking to and make him or her want to hire me. In fact, all it really does is allow the person I’m speaking with to quickly file my business into a known category and switch to a different topic (thereby losing an opportunity to explore possible ways of working together).

What Business Are You Really In?
Tony Robbins asked his more than 1,500 attendees, “What business are you really in?” Meaning, what core benefit do you deliver to your client beyond the category or industry in which you’ve built your career? For Trepoint, we came up with, “We create breakthrough marketing and innovation that is as powerful as the clients we serve.” That really resonated to my core. The result was that it unleashed my passion and was much more interesting to whomever I was speaking with. What business is Tony Robbins in? “I get you to be the man or woman you were meant to be,” he said. “That’s what the F I do for a living.”

Many Incredible Examples
Scott Harrison, one of Tony Robbin’s top speakers, told the audience, “This is a wonderful time for you to review what your neighbor has written and, if you like it, steal it.” Agreed. While you are certainly encouraged to come up with your own unique answer, it really does help to get some diverse examples of breakthroughs in several different industries.

With that in mind, I will use the balance of this article to highlight eight industry examples that I thought were much more powerful than their original industry-specific response. I’ve also encouraged my fellow Business Mastery Gladiators to use the comment section of this article to include their own, as it just wasn’t practical to capture all 1,500 in this article.

  1. Are you in the real estate business? No, you’re actually in the business of helping families achieve the American dream. Or, better yet, you’re in the business of creating wealth through home ownership. Much better description from Century 21 Allstars’ Mirna Martinez.
  2. How about the video production business? You’re actually in the business of helping companies express and market themselves through turnkey video production services. Or, better yet, you’re in the business of making it easier for all companies to embrace and market themselves through digital media, saysVSP Worldwide Productions.
  3. Perhaps you’re a lawyer. Actually, you’re a professional problem solver. Or better yet, you’re providing peace of mind and a good night’s sleep during people’s most turbulent times. Wow. Love that one, from KER Legal Group.
  4. Are you competing in the fast casual food service business? Perhaps you are you in the business of fueling the world with energy, health, and vitality to help reduce the sickness and suffering in the world. Or you’re in the business of changing people’s lives through proper nutrition and lifestyle choices. Watch out, Chipotle! Johnny’s Garden is coming for you.
  5. Have a hardware store? To compete with Home Depot, you need to be in the business of helping your clients love and care for their home by providing world-class products, knowledge, and passion. Crown Ace Hardware is putting much needed services back into the hardware-store business.
  6. How about the insurance business? The value is really keeping people and their valuables safe and making sure they are financially secure when things do go wrong. Or, better yet, you’re in the business of creating an environment in which people have total security on what matters most to them, thereby allowing them peace of mind and to focus on living life to the fullest. It helps when your business’s name is iCare.
  7. Do you write children’s books? Well, you could be in the business of enlightening kids so that they can wake up from the paralyzing fear of death, while using book profits to improve the quality of life of those kids endangered by poverty and violence in America. Powerful stuff, Joseph Diaz-Oldenburg!
  8. And finally, what if you run a children’s camp? Perhaps you are really in the business of empowering kids to become their best self through inner confidence, self awareness, contribution, and success. Or perhaps you’re in the business of creating opportunities for kids to create the life they want. Now that’s a camp I want to send my kids to. Sign me up, Camp Lonehollow.

What Business Do You Need to Be In?
The last question in this exercise is future looking. Regardless of how awesomely you articulated your current state, technology, and innovation are moving so rapidly, you need to continuously look to the future to determine the business you are becoming. So, while Trepoint currently creates breakthrough marketing and innovation that is as powerful as the clients we serve, we also need to be working on our future business: Transhuman Revenue Reengineering for Web 5.0. But explaining that is for a future article.

The point is simply that you need to always be working on two businesses: the one you’re currently in and the one you are becoming. That way, you’ll never find yourself in the company of Blockbuster, Kodak, and Borders–none of whom changed fast enough to stay relevant and compete with the likes of Netflix, Apple, and Amazon.

So the next time someone asks, “What does your company do?” make sure you give that person a compelling answer that is client-benefit based to truly ace this question.

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