Each week my family attends a slew of youth soccer games. Although the competitive soccer matches are more intense, the little kids’ games are the most entertaining. The 4-and-5 year olds play a huddled masses style of soccer, where a herd of children swarm the ball tripping over each other in the process. It’s wildly fun to watch as parents (yes, me included) holler encouragingly for their child to “kick harder” and “run faster” in an attempt to separate the ball and the child from the pack. Any time a kid accomplishes this not-so-easy feat he or she is generally off to the races with the ball, to a wide-open net and an easy goal. SCORE!
Today’s business environment creates a similar frenzy, as businesses get lost in the masses, while attempting to claw, kick and scream to be recognized. Having a good product or high quality service just isn’t enough. To be successful, you must find distinct ways to separate yourself from the pack.
Here’s 3 ways to do so:
- 1. Understand
Understanding the business you’re in is crucial. Years ago I worked for a minor-league, indoor football team; at first with had the misconception that we were in the football business. We were wrong! No college football or NFL games happened in the spring (when we played our games). However, we were competing against NBA basketball, movie theaters, concerts, amusements parks and even miniature golf. See, we were in the entertainment business. Our challenge was to convince consumers to spend their money on indoor football over other forms of entertainment. Once we understood the business we were in, we did a better job of marketing, event creation and eventually ticket sales.
By understanding the business you’re in marketing communication will be more effective and you’ll have a better grasp on how to most effectively drive revenue.
- 2. Define
Define what you want to be known for. What makes people think of you first!? If I’m in the mood for sushi I think of Simply Sushi in Salt Lake City. They’ve proved to be the best value for me to get quality sushi and a lot of it. Other places in town are cheaper; other places have a higher quality sushi. Simply Sushi decided they want to be known for being the Best Value. This definition often wins them my lunch money.
McDonald’s is known for the Big Mac. Burger King is Home of the Whopper. They both offer tons of other menu options, but early on they decided what they wanted to be known for. Do the same for your business. Trying to be all things to all people is extremely difficult. More often than not, you’ll be known for nothing to most people.
If say we want to be known for good customer service, go back to the drawing board. Too easy to “say” but generally not what people will remember you for (although they will remember bad service). Personally, I rarely pay for good customer service, but I do expect it.
Side note: This concept also works for managers and employees. Years ago I worked with a young sales rep from Brazil. His language skills weren’t the best and he was never the #1 rep, but he decided early on he wanted to be known for getting the best, most aggressive deals. He defined what he wanted to be known for, he made it happen and it has benefited his career.
- 3. Get Social
Social Media is growing by leaps and bounds. However, plenty of businesses (and working professionals) are slow to take advantage of it. Social Media can be fun, interactive, and spontaneous and give you an edge over the competition. Blogs, Twitter and YouTube are great for both businesses and Individuals. It requires an investment in dedicating time to social media activities. The investment will create awareness and separate you from the competition. Most Social Media tools are free and easy to use. Make it fun, make it memorable. Remember, use Social Media to talk with people not talk at them or try merely to sell them.
Take advantage of opportunities to separate yourself from the pack or you might find the competition is running away from you.