"Whenever you see a successful business,
someone once made a courageous decision."
Why "Dare To Be Different?"
Pure and Simple in a crowded marketplace you get
noticed and remembered! You separate yourself and stay ahead
of the competition. You monopolize your market and become
the obvious choice. Fail to "Be Different" and you will be
Customers do not want to hear how big you are or how nifty
your company is. They want to know how you will meet their
needs better than the competition.
Are you still using platitudes to describe your company's
products and services? Biggest, Cheapest? Greatest? Can your
competition use the same terms to describe their business?
For example "on time and on budget" Isn't that what
is expected? Aren't you just stating the obvious? What is
the proof or evidence that you should be the company of choice?
How are you building a case so the customer knows you deliver
Are you superstitious and spending more time defending the
status quo the current way of doing things more
because fear of the future than the love of the past?
Ask yourself the following questions to develop a unique selling
proposition and avoid becoming a commodity.
- What business are you really in? Example The Security
and Life Enrichment Business?
- What does your company offer that they can't get from
any other in your business?
- Are you licensed?
- Longevity: Are you celebrating your 50th year of
- Do you provide a written guarantee?
- How easily can others duplicate your company's products
- What do you do better than the competition?
- Why do potential customers select you for their projects?
- What's getting in the way (rules and traditions) at your
company that are keeping you from trying new things?
or ask yourself Is what I am I doing necessary?
As a result of being surrounded by competitors who often
have access to the same products -- Great Service is the competitive
advantage that will differentiate you in the marketplace.
How To Implement A Program Of "Dare To Be
It starts with changing your mindset ( moving beyond
we tried that before, that's the way it has always been done,
it's too radical a change, let's get back to reality, we're
not ready for that, it won't work in our company, it's impossible,
don't rock the boat, quit dreaming, it's too much work). You
have to become a curiosity thinker and look at your world
and business through a fresh pair of eyes.
The secret is to see what everyone else sees and doing something
with it that has never been done before. It means creating
an atmosphere of lets do this vs this will never work.
Try doing something familiar in a different way.
- If you're right handed write with your left hand.
- Switch your watch to the opposite wrist.
- Hold meetings in unusual places.
Grab a cocktail napkin and write down all of the assumptions
you've made in the past. For example maybe it's time
to rethink commonly held practices previously implemented
by your father and grandfather. The challenge is to go beyond
the way you've always done things in the past.
Set targets for growth so high that they can't be achieved
unless you think and do things differently.
You might ask yourself; If you were starting in the fence
industry today what would you do differently? or
If you could write the script for your success in the next
2-5 years what would it look like?
These are specific programs that I challenge you to try:
- Have a "stupid rules" contest. Invite employees to identify
rules and practices which are stupid. If the company leadership
agrees the rule and activity are suspended and the employee
receives a cash reward.
- Post throughout your company signs saying "No Blame...
- Rename your change order to "Asset Enrichment."
- Develop a web site that shows photos of successfully
completed projects and reference letters from satisfied
- Change the title of your secretary or receptionist to
"Director of First Impressions."
In short say yes to a lot of crazy ideas! Work on agitating
and disturbing yourself in a positive way.
Dare To Be Different... The Rewards Are Incredible
Innovative companies are more likely to generate growth
rates of 20% or more than their less innovative counterparts.
You might ask the question, We're making money, so why dare
to be different? The answer: Differentiation is the key to
growth! It reminds us all that no business strategy or formula
Being "me too" is a great formula for going out of business.
Being different enables you to increase margins and not rely
on being the low cost bid. When people remember you they call
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