It wasn’t too long ago that all cultures knew beyond a doubt that the earth was the center of the universe. In dealing with small children, they typically believe that they are the center of the universe as they perceive it. Their grandparents may agree with them! Although not as obvious, it is easy to fall into that same trap when viewing your product or service. Representing it abstractly or on a PowerPoint™ chart as a circle with other elements connected to it with radials is not uncommon. The image is a natural result of your focus. Development, Manufacturing, Marketing, and other component suppliers all provide the necessary elements to bring your product, at the center, to life and make it available for customers.
It is interesting to step back from this vision and ask one simple question: if other entities represented in the picture were to redraw it, would they put your product or their contribution in the center? An equally revealing question is to ask a customer to draw a similar picture. Would they view your product at the center? Perhaps they would place another product in the center, but most likely, they would place their company or a specific issue that they are trying to address at the center. Hopefully, they would still leave room for you to appear on the chart and be represented large enough to be seen and appreciated.
The purpose of this drawing exercise is to allow you to form a realistic picture of how your product and your company fit into the customer’s overall perception and need for your offering. Acknowledging your position with the customer may help solidify it with them. Show them that you understand that you are only part of their overall solution. Offering to help them directly or indirectly with other elements, or the overall integration and implementation will provide them with the sense that you are available to help them. Act as a resource to help them to maintain the equilibrium and “orbits” of the other elements that are circling them as they remain the center of their universe.