Creating value is the essence of business. There are value-added services that make your solutions offering stand out from the competitor. There’s also value to the bottom line. Heck, there are even value meals at the drive-thru. But sometimes we lose sight of what value really is, which we tackle in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

The truth is, value is something quite real and quite concrete. If you want to understand how to create value in your business, think about being of service. All products of real value are embedded with specific ways of serving customers. Through that service, value is created. That which serves, creates value.

Stop for a moment and think of something you own that you really value. It may be a great pen that fits perfectly in your hand, the satisfaction you get from your iPad or the joy you get from your mountain bike. It doesn’t matter what it is, just so long as it’s something you would be really sorry to lose. Without it, there would be a small hole in your life; you would feel its absence. Now, in just a few words, note what it is that you’d miss most about it. How does that product really serve you?

How would it feel to know there’s someone out there who feels that way about your product or service? How would it feel if there were a whole bunch of people who felt that way? Great!

This is your customer mission. Companies that know how to serve their customer mission are companies that know how to generate real value in their markets.

Of course there’s a lot more to running a business than just serving your customer mission. If you don’t keep a handle on costs, you’ll expend resources unsustainably, and if you get your pricing wrong you’ll fail to be adequately compensated for the value you create. There are many other factors as well, of course, but the fact is your customer mission is Job One.

So start paying attention to the products and services in your life in a new way. Each one has a value embedded within it that’s the essence of how it serves you. You can think of it as the product’s higher calling, its customer mission. This builds muscle that will help you make the right decisions about your own products and services and the way they connect with your customers.

In the end, value is simply being of service. Something has value as long as it is able to serve. When you build products based around serving your customer mission, you can’t help but create value.

Source: Gideon Rosenblatt writes about the relationship between technology and humans. Rosenblatt ran an innovative social enterprise called Groundwire for nine years. He worked at Microsoft for 10 years in marketing and product development, and created CarPoint, one of the world’s first large-scale e-commerce websites, in 2004.