Sunday, December 28, 2014

The ONLY Way to Avoid being a “Me-Too” Company

The best way to make sure that nobody notices you is to be just like everyone else…in everything.

That might be good advice to help a shy kid survive high school (which probably not even then), but it’s not the best advice for success in business or life.

Most of us know enough to “make fun of” people who are trying to be just like someone else.  Comedians do impersonations to be funny, and sometimes they are really funny.

Do you notice which people they impersonate?

Do they impersonate people who are just like everyone else?  No, they impersonate people who are different.

We tend to feel the same way about companies, too.  There are so many companies, and most (almost all) of these companies really are just doing things that everyone else is doing.

We don’t talk about those companies.  In fact, usually we only buy something from them if (a) it’s convenient, (b) they’re giving away something, or (c) there isn’t anyone else (they know) who offers the same thing they need right now.

So…Which companies do we discuss?  Which companies do we seek to pay?  If price is equal, who are we choosing?  We choose the best companies…or the ones we perceive to be the best at something.

How can we position our company to be different than the “rest of them?”

In the old days, there weren’t that many competitors.  TV was new and a novelty; so we mostly just had to put our company in your face, and if enough faces saw our company, they would buy from our company.

Today, we can’t very many companies…only the older companies that were introduced to us before there was huge competition…or certain types of “newer” companies.

Google is a great example of a newer company that is wildly successful and people mention (without them having to prompt us).

How did Google get to be so big?

Yes, they might have been given access to enormous funds, and they might have attracted the brightest minds.

But that doesn’t persuade people to “try something new.”

Google GAVE AWAY a bunch of free stuff.  They gave away free email.  They let people search anywhere on the Internet for free.  Over time, they kept finding more things to offer to us for free.

Giving away all of this free stuff seems crazy, right?  Actually, they kept giving us excuses to keep returning to Google.  (TV and radio borrow a similar business model.)

What does this have to do with YOUR business?

If you want to be a “me-too” company, do what everyone else does.

If you want to be a “special” company, you need to do something “crazy.”

Actually, you need to do something that is so crazy, nobody else (including your competition) would be willing to do it.

Essentially, either you need to be a masochist, or you need to find something that seems like play for you but work for others.

What might be some examples?

Maybe an auto repair shop can give a lifetime warranty on all of its repairs.  Given how many miles people drive and the abuse they give their cars, it seems like a plan destined for failure, but how much attention would those shops give if they knew that the “next one” was like working for nothing?

Maybe a restaurant can give away a free dinner to a random guest each hour.  That might seem to be crazy and expensive, but do you think a deal like that might spread around town?

Essentially, if we want to be known, we have to be different in some way or offer something so “crazy” that we can’t ignore it.

I’m not talking about a “10% off” sale type of “incentive.”  I’m talking about making sure that people associate your company about being crazy about something.

Imagine your customer thinking, “I can’t believe that this guy is doing this…for me.  How can he do that?”

That’s actually a form of insanity, because nobody else is doing it…nobody but you.

When you do that, people will (eventually) rush to your door.

If you want to go with the competitor, that’s okay, but you know what you’ll be missing…my craziness that could be working for you.

The good news is that if you go with that “other guy,” you’ll have lots of choices.  There are plenty of people…just like him.

They might list their “benefits,” but they sound just like the other guys.  They have those same “benefits,” too.

Which company would you prefer to be?

I prefer my company to be…crazy…for you!

Are you really sure that you don’t want your business to be crazy?

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