Consistently asking 'why, who and what' are essential in business. These are the questions my kids ask all the time. However, over time as we grow up, we become better at adapting and accepting and we tend to stop questioning.
When forming Halebury, asking "why, what and who" at every level and every aspect was essential and helped us create the model and structure that was genuinely alternative, and even to this day remains so.
As detailed in this article, pivotal for Eurostar was understanding why are they in business and for whom. These questions lead them to determine the core of their business - essentially what is their purpose. Understanding your business and market at a core level sounds logical but as mentioned in Jim Collins's Good to Great, few companies accurately undertake this analysis. Those who do, have the ability to transition from 'Good to Great'.
Sometimes the simple analysis is the most effective. We started our analysis on a blank sheet of paper with bubbles representing two core aspects of our market, clients and lawyers, the rest flowed by asking 'why, what and who'.
I strongly believe that questioning your market and your customer base ensures you to fully understand it and enables you to drive your business from good to great.
In Taylor's stint at Eurostar one of his key ‘aha’ moments was realizing they essentially had to change their understanding of what it did and what it was competing against. Where Eurostar was failing was not in the business traveller market but in the leisure traveller one. The competition was not other modes of transport but essentially other things you could spend a £100 on that weekend: going out for dinner, buying something new for the house etc. Eurostar refocused its efforts on partnerships with destinations such as Disney Paris. Effectively the breakthrough was realizing they weren't selling the means of getting to Paris but selling Paris itself!