Years ago I invested in a product where one of the exercises was to pretend I was 100 years old and, looking back over my life, describe that which meant the most to me.
One of the major things, apart from my family and friends, was the impact my business made on small business owners’ lives and the economy overall.
You know that number often touted by the Small Business Administration (that 63% of small businesses fail in the first 5 years) or the newer one stating that 95% of online-based businesses fail? Part of my mission is to reduce that number.
A lofty goal? Absolutely.
Can it be achieved? Absolutely.
Yet that’s not what we’re discussing today. What we’re discussing is what makes us different. What I consider to be part of our branding and why someone would choose to work with us rather than someone else.
There are several ways to set yourself apart from everyone else:
- Your presence — how you come across to others. When people walk away from you, how do they feel? Uplifted? Motivated? Downtrodden? Whipped?
- Your content and expertise — how you serve others; what information, products, programs or services do we offer? Gained from a lifetime of education, work experience, relationships and life, each of us brings our own specialties to what we do.
- Your energy — are you motivated and inspired by what you do? Does that come across? Listen to one of your calls, would you hire you?
- Your leadership — do you share a vision? Do you walk your talk? Are you consistent in being who you want to be/do you lead by example?
- Your values — do you know them? Are you a stand for them, no matter what?
- Your client care — how do you serve your clients? Do you provide Extreme Client Care? In what ways?
- Your marketing — do you educate? Do you sell? Do you persuade? Do you inform? What’s your method? Is it reflective of who you are? (Hint: If you’re not comfortable with your current marketing, it’s not for you and you want to revisit your strategies.)
These are all ways you can, and should, set yourself apart from your competition. Because no matter what others may say, we do have competition:
- Competition for time and energy — potential clients can choose to spend their time and energy with you or with someone (or no one) else.
- Competition for financial resources — do they invest with you, with someone else, save their mo.ney, buy a car or something else?
The best way for you to share what you do is to know, really know, what that is and what makes you and how you do it different from everyone else.
My Request to You:
Grab your calendar and schedule an hour to identify all the ways you’re different from those who offer a similar program, service or product. (This is one of those tasks that will take as much time as you allot to it.)
Once you’ve identified the ways, schedule another hour to review your website/blog/social media presence and ask if they’re consistent with what you wrote. If so, great.
If not, you know what to change or tweak.
I recommend doing this exercise two or three times a year — after all, as you grow, so does your business.