You are not the first HVAC company, commercial printer, multi-level marketer or nonprofit (yada, yada, yada) in the universe. Much as we like to think that what we do is completely different, better, special – there are probably a zillion other entities that are most likely doing the same thing you are.
I know. Why is this person telling me that my company is not the next best thing after all the obstacles I had to overcome and all the rotten customers and/or employees I’ve had to endure???
OK, you deserve a medal. Trust me - I know. Before you think that I’m cruel (or just plain ignorant) to point out the fact that the business you have dreamed about and labored over might not be the proverbial “best thing since sliced bread,” consider this:
Your business is you.
Of course, if you’re part of a larger organization this might not pertain to you, although if you are a key innovator in a position you might be. While what you do to survive may not be the cat’s pajamas (sorry for the clichés) there is a good chance that you are.
Feel better now? Yep, for the same reason that your business is not completely “new,” what the other companies don’t have is someone like you who started your first business at age 10, or was published at 17, or sold 500K of a product that no one else wanted when the market dived or did all of the above while taking care of a family or an aging relative.
Every business needs a story and HAS a story. Think about this:
Would you rather buy something from a huge, faceless, conglomerate or from a business that you know that has successfully survived a market downturn, been started by someone who was laid off or gone through a personal crisis but didn’t give up, gives a portion of proceeds to homeless shelters or from someone who simply is incredibly likeable and honest and offers a fair price?
(By the way, this is an INCREDIBLE success story. I could hate him because he's so rich, but with his attitude I can't help but want to buy his products.
Tell your story. Don't think you don't have one! You do have a story and people want to know it. Write it down. It could be that while your product is similar to others on the market that you have had amazing success in a particular area and have concrete data to support that.
Blow your own horn! I haven’t run into any clairvoyant customers lately. So if you don’t have your story on your materials and website or in press – nobody is going to know how great you are!
Sigh. I know, despite my years of marketing experience, that, while I am pretty good, there are others that can run circles around me.
Of course, being an intrinsically stubborn person with workaholic tendencies, I am doing my best to rectify that situation, but you know what? Once I started letting customers know how much I truly care, and how my other clients love how much I care, and get the job done no matter what and am a bulldog (big time) in getting exposure for them, raised two great kids with little to no support, and that my clients are not just a walking dollar sign to me AND how I strive to hire single mothers so they can make money and stay home with their kids – well, they got it.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I would love to hear yours. Bet it’s awesome.