This Simple Question Will Change How You Do Business Forever! 

this simple question will change how you do business forever

Starting a business is hard. 

No wonder 90 percent of new businesses fail every time. 

If you ask some business owners why they failed, many of them may tell you that they ran out of money, they didn’t get the right people to invest in their business, or they partnered with the wrong people. 

While these reasons are valid, there is one important question that most business owners fail to ask. 

I was reading Gary Bencivenga’s marketing bullets where he said this simple question will give you an “unfair advantage.” I said to myself that how could a simple question give me an “unfair advantage”? But when I saw the question, I knew I had struck gold and it would change my life forever. 

Here is the question – What do you really sell? 

Whatever your answer to this question is will determine whether you will still be in business in the next 10 years or not. You don’t have to take my word for it but you can learn some lessons from the railroad moguls that dominated the transportation industry about a century ago. 

Railroads made transportation of goods and humans easier than before. As more people relied on them because of the convenience they offered, business owners who have invested in the sector became prosperous. 

Black And White Vintage GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Unfortunately, many of these business people never asked themselves “what do we really sell?” If they had asked themselves this question, they would have realized that they were in the transportation business and not the railroad business. 

They would have invested heavily in the then-emerging automobiles and airplanes. 

Now it’s your turn to ask “what are we really selling?” 

You don’t want to be like the railroad business giants that failed to see that change is a constant. Now it is your turn to ask “what are we really selling?” 

This simple question will give clarity to your business and help you build a formidable empire that can stand the test of time. 

Perhaps the people who understand this question the most are those in the cosmetic industry. Many of them know that they are not selling makeup kits. They are not selling the best powder or the best lipsticks. 

They sell hope.

That is why cosmetic industries use celebrities to market their products. They know that millions wish to be like this celebrity secretly. Now they sell them the hope that they can be like their favorite celebrity by using their products.

Another great example is weight loss products and services. These businesses don’t show you ads of people working out all the time. Instead, they show you the ads with picture-perfect couples with chiseled abs and flat bellies enjoying their time on the beach. 

Are you seeing a pattern already? 

No one is interested in buying your product and services, they’re only looking for the benefits it provides.

So when you start asking yourself “what are we really selling,” you will find the answer to the secret that will keep you in business for a long time. 

What are the advantages of clearly defining your business? 

  • It helps you offer the right products and services to your customers. 
  • It gives you an early return on investment and more profit. 
  • It helps you build trust and credibility with your customers. 
  • It helps you map out a good market strategy. 
  • It offers you stability in your business. 

Examples of businesses that know “what they really sell.” 


Tesla is not the first car manufacturer in the world but today it is the best-selling electric vehicle brand. How did a new company beat manufacturers that have been in the business for several decades? 

According to their website, their mission is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” But you will be wrong to think Tesla became successful just because they care about the environment. 

People care about themselves first before the environment. So Tesla did what other EV manufacturers before them did not do. In the factory, they build luxurious cars but in the shop, they sell environmental sustainability to their customers. 


Another great example is Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. Have you ever asked yourself what did facebook sell to become a billion-dollar company? 

Maybe your data? 

Whatever your answer is, Facebook know what they are selling and that is why they have billions of active users every month. They sell the hope of keeping friends and family closer together no matter where they are on earth. 

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How do you apply this to your business? 

Everything I’ve said in this article applies to you whether you run a fashion business, you’re a freelance writer[insert link], you’re a plumber, or a dentist. When you know what you really sell, it changes how you present it to your customers. 

First, you must understand that you are not selling a product or service, you are selling a promise.

People are not buying from you because your product has the best features. They are buying from you because they want a particular result. 

If you are an SEO agency, a plumber won’t hire your service because they want a fancy website. What they want is more leads and customers. If you can show them how your service can fulfill this promise, you automatically turn them to your customer.

If you want to apply this to your business, stop and ask yourself “what are we really selling?” Make a list of all the problems that you think your product can solve. Organize this list by their order of importance and you have a focus on these benefits henceforth.

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