Every morning, he stands on a street corner in Queens, next to the hardware store and across the street from the Thai restaurant. Hector stands next to his six biggest competitors, waiting for work.
Slowly, a pickup truck pulls up. The contractor behind the wheel is looking for workers, day laborers. He knows that every morning, they’ll be on this corner, waiting for him. He rolls down the window and offers minimum wage. Which is a lot for this kind of work. All the workers seem the same.
They’re bundled up against the cold, and they’re willing to work cheap. So he picks three and drives away. Hector is left on the corner, in the cold. Maybe someone else will come by today. Maybe not. He’s one of many, a fungible product, a non-choice.
The contractor didn’t expend any time or effort on his choice because it didn’t really matter. He needed cheap physical labor and he got it. He needed obedient workers able to follow simple instructions, and here they were. And Hector got nothing. Hector went home, as he often does, with nothing.
The Business Of Average
We don’t want Hector’s story to resonate with us, because it’s disturbing. Every business is a lot like Hector. Every business stands next to plenty of other businesses, each striving to be like the other, but maybe a little better. Every business waits for the next customer to come along and pick their company.
And of course, sometimes a prospect does pick a particular business. She recognizes it or trusts it or it comes with a recommendation. But more and more (and most of the time), she does precisely what the contractor in Queens did. She picks the cheap one. They’re all the same.
Sounds a lot like Hector. This is uncomfortable, but it’s true. The people you’re hoping will buy from you have more choices and less time than ever before. So the more you try to be like everyone else, the quicker you will be ignored!
The Problem With Average
Being average would have been great if there weren’t many people in that space. The average space is already crowded, there’s little or no room for you. The more you try to be like everyone else, the less visible you become. Being average is the closest alternative to extinction!
When you are like everyone else your existence don’t matter; whether you are present or absent, no one bothers. Why? Because there are so many others just like you to cover up for you. Who needs another average product, service or company when they are already crowded by many? Average is abundant, extraordinary is scarce.
And remember what the laws of economics says;
“The higher the supply [abundance], the lower the demand [price]. And the lower the supply [scarcity], the higher the demand [price]”.
In other words, your goal as an entrepreneur is not to be like everyone else [abundant], you goal is to be like no one else [scarce]. Your goal is not to be abundant [average], your goal is to be significant [unique and useful].
The key to success in business and in life is not conformity, but non-conformity. The value of the products, services or businesses you create will significantly increase the less similar they are to the existing ones.
In the end, the problem with average is that it gets you killed faster!
Beyond Average, Becoming SIGNIFICANT
If you don’t want your business, product/service or brand to end up like Hector above, start doing the following;
Define your market
If you are not going to be like everyone else, then there’s only one way to make that clear; don’t try to serve everyone. Trying to serve everyone is simply serving nobody, period!
The moment you start hunting the same folks your competitions hunt, then you are no different than them. The market your competitions serve is already crowded, go find your own market or better still, create your own market. <– read this unusual article to learn how.
The quickest way to frustrate the work you do is to engage with a client that wants to do the usual. It zaps your creativity, limits your ingenuity and hurts your emotional and financial bank account.
That’s how painful working with the wrong target market can be. It is counter-productive for both you and the customer you serve. You don’t give your best and they don’t get the best, because they pay the least. It’s a loss-loss transaction.
Business is not by force, neither is it a do or die affair. Going into business was your choice; it should also be your choice to determine the kind of customers you want to serve.
Unleash your personality
When you don’t want to be like everyone else, then there’s only one person you’ve got to be; YOURSELF!
That’s right, “be yourself” is perhaps the greatest business advice you could ever get. Don’t be shy to put yourself into your business. Why? Because after all is said and done, business is fundamentally about relationships. People buy from people, period.
Your personality is the human touch you bring to your business every time you interact with your customers, workers or partners. It is simply who you are. This is a strong competitive edge you have in person, because no two people are completely alike. So take advantage of your unique personality traits and inject them into your business.
And so you know, personality traits are simply your;
- Behaviors you possess
Some personality traits are positive and others are negative. Below are 3 great articles you should read to help understand better some of the essential personality traits of successful entrepreneurs.
10 Personality Traits Every Successful Entrepreneur Has — Business Insider
Improve your touchpoints
If you don’t want to be like everyone else, then don’t appear like everyone else.
In communication, According to UCLA Professor Emeritus of Psychology Albert Mehrabian , 80% of the message being sent is non-verbal, it’s visual.
- 55% of messages received and processed by your brain are based on body language.
- 38% of messages are processed based on tone of voice.
- Only 7% of your received meaning will be based off the actual words you are hearing.
Meaning, the way you look, the way you sound, the way your products, service or business looks, sends a message to your target customers whether you like it or not.
In business as well as in life, you’ve probably heard this before, “appearance matters”. In business, this is at the core of a marketing concept known as touchpoints. There you go, that’s why marketing is alternatively referred to as business communications.
Touch points are any encounter where customers and business engage to exchange information, provide service, or handle transactions. In other words, every point of contact your business has with the customer is a touchpoint. And everything the customers sees, feels, thinks, hears, and perceives during every encounter with your business all constitute a touchpoint. They are those subtle things that contribute to the total experience customers have with your brand.
- Products: every aspect of the product from design to packaging to functionality to durability and utility.
- Interactions: Two-way interactions that can be in-person (such as in a store), on the phone, or virtual (web sites, blogs, emails, social network and user forum presences, and so on).
- Messages: One-way communications that include brand, collateral, manuals, advertising, packaging, business cards, handbills, and the like.
- Settings: Anywhere that the product is seen or used: a retail store, a friend’s house, TV product placement, events, or shows.
Establish your authority
What better way to not be like everyone else than to be considered an expert?
Why? Because differentiating your company is easier when you can control the message.
Experts are authorities in their fields or industry. They are the people customers turn to for unbiased information when trying to make buying decisions. As you know, in business every company is always trying to get the word out there about their products/services, so in an ocean of ever increasing noise, customers are becoming less receptive to these marketing messages. They are literally turning deaf ears to advertising.
So the only way to get their attention is to rise above the noise and communicate your message through thought leadership. Rather than getting their attention through interruption marketing [advertising], everyone is already doing that, and that’s exactly why there’s so much noise in the marketplace. Going that way is futile, instead to get their attention, take the opposite route through content marketing [thought leadership].
Content marketing is the deliberate sharing of unique and useful information through the use of text, video, audio or picture in order to attract the attention of your target customers, build their trust and empower them to make better buying decisions.
Three words to keep in mind here; attract, build and empower. That’s what experts do, by sharing their knowledge, we get to know them, and because that knowledge empowers us, we like and trust them. And guess what? These are the recipes for influence, no wonder they make more sales because marketing that works is all about influence!
Tools for establishing your authority/expertise include;
- Public speaking – seminars, conferences, etc.
- Social networks – facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Differentiate your offering
This is the culmination of all the points listed above. If they are properly implemented, the end result is a differentiated product/service in the market. This is what a brand means. And that’s the ultimate reward for not being average.
Over to you
In what areas are you still struggling with the business of average?
Share your comments and thoughts below. Thanks!