Structure follows strategy. Strategy follows customers. It all starts with a customer.
- Who is your target customer segment?
- Who is your best customer?
- What is your best customer’s profile? How do we recognize them?
- What does your customer need? What is necessary in your customer’s life?
- What does your customer want? What is your customer’s preference?
- How will you collect that data? How much data do you need?
- How will you analyze that data?
- How will you verify the accuracy of your analysis?
Strategy follows customers?
- Based on what your customer needs, what is necessary in your customer’s life, what product or service can you produce to satisfy that need?
- Will your customer be willing to pay a price for your product or service that allows you to make a reasonable profit?
- In the profit for your product or service, is there enough volume to sustain your company’s operation?
- Is your product or service exclusive to your company, or do competitors offer a similar product or service perceived on an equal basis?
- Based on your customer’s preference, what will make your customer decline your competitor’s offering and buy from you? What is your competitive advantage?
- How can you create that competitive advantage in a way that is sustainable, difficult or impossible to copy by your competitor?
- How can you effectively communicate the competitive advantage to your customer?
- How can you operationalize your competitive advantage to make is real, observable and obvious?
Your responses to these questions will guide your structure.
- What core functions do you need to create the product or service your customer needs?
- What support functions do you need to meet your customer’s preferences in the way they want to buy?
- In each function, what is the level of work required to sustainably produce the desired outputs?
- In what way does each function need to integrate with its neighboring functions related to work handoffs?
- What is the output capacity of each function, and how does its output match the output capacity of its neighboring functions?
Customers drives strategy, strategy drives structure.