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Examples of Escaping The Sea Of Sameness

Examples of Escaping The Sea Of Sameness

You escape the Sea of Sameness into the River of Relevant Differentiation by branding yourself or your business.  I have been branding my clients and their businesses for years and indeed have become such a leader in the field that I was asked to write Branding Small Business For Dummies.

Most entrepreneurs kill any hope of being branded simply by the way they introduce themselves.  “Hello, I’m a Realtor.”  “Hello, I’m a Plumber.”  The death word in those sentences is the indefinite article “a.”  When you proclaim that you are “a” provider of your services, you are admitting that you are the same as everyone else.  To brand yourself, you must switch to the definite article “the.”  This article will provide some examples.

There’s some rules and there’s some techniques – but mostly there’s some artistry and breakthrough thinking needed.  Let me give you some examples in different industries.

One of my clients is a Dentist.  He is exactly the same as every other dentist in his city, yet he still needs to compete.  I branded him as The Smiling Dentist.  The truth is that he smiles no more nor no less than any other dentist – but think about it.  If you had a chance to go to just “a” dentist or The Smiling Dentist, can you feel that tug to go to the smiling one?  You may object and indignantly proclaim that you select your providers on more scientific grounds.  But, you know that that is not true.  Did your dentist graduate top of his class?  Do his fillings last longer than the average filling?  Are his diagnostic abilities strong or weak?  You see, you don’t even know.  No one else does either.  You simply cannot judge a dentist’s professional or technical skills – so you select your dentist on other matters, like his branding. Notice he no longer says he is “a” dentist; he proudly says he is “The” Smiling Dentist.

I branded Mary as the Realtor who gets you into a home larger than you thought you could afford.

Michelle is now the Broker who helps you sell your business for more than its worth.

Dexter is now the sales professional who’s always on.  He proudly ends all conversations with the line … “Why would you want to use a sales professional who wasn’t always on?”

Al is the only fitness instructor in the world who offers to get you “Cheeseburger Abs” and his book of business has dramatically increases, and so have his prices.

Those are just some examples.  I know you are getting the point.  When you are “the” and not “a”, you start to become branded and hence escape the dreaded Sea of Sameness.

If you wish to learn about branding from me and indeed actually be branded by me, simply attend one of my powerful branding experiences:

An Overview of Branding

An Overview of Branding

Nike has its famous “swoosh”.  Rice Crispies has the “Snap, Crackle & Pop” triplets.  KFC has its unique fragrance.  So, you know that giant companies are distinctive by a specific sound or taste or smell or touch or visual.  But so what?  How does that help the all-important entrepreneur, the small businessperson?  The answer is that it does not help at all.  The way large corporations brand themselves is totally unrelated to how you brand yourself or your small business.

A startling statistic on branding is that 97% of entrepreneurs are not branded.  To an outsider (that means a prospect), every Realtor, every butcher, every electrician, every professional, etc. all look exactly the same.  So, it is a struggle to compete since you don’t stand out.  To get business when you are not branded, you need to play the odds – that means make lots of sales calls and hope for the best.  Or, you can spend lots of money on advertising or social media or whatever.  But, it is all a huge waste of money and time.  So, most entrepreneurs simply cut their prices to get business and hence live dangerously on razor thin profit margins.

The next startling statistic on branding is that the few entrepreneurs who attempt to brand themselves choose the wrong aspect of their business or themselves to brand.  They choose what actually everyone else in their industry does also, hence they are not unique or branded.  Examples include claiming that you are excellent in customer service or available at all hours or been in business for over ten years or you continually upgrade your skills by taking ongoing courses.  When I ask such misguided entrepreneurs if there are others in their industry who do customer service or have long hours or lots of years of experience or keep educating themselves, the sheepish answer is always “well, yes, I guess”.

My first comment about branding yourself is not going to seem very helpful, but it needs to be said.  There is no rule or formula for branding, for if there were, everyone would follow that rule and all brands would be the same and that would ruin the brand.  For you see, a brand has as its purpose to make you stand out.  Being the same as everyone else is the opposite of a brand.  That means that branding has some science and a lot of art.

You need to select an aspect of what  you do that truly stands you out, makes you different, has others exclaim “wow”.   Think of all the five senses – notice what others in your industry talk about and see if you can select something else to use to create your brand.  To use a product example, Proctor and Gamble owns Folgers Coffee.  Maxwell House was the world leader.  Folgers wanted to overtake Maxwell.  So, the Product Manager of Folgers studied all other coffees and noticed that they all focused on their taste.  So, Folgers focused on its aroma.  Instead of TV commercials showing smiling people sipping coffee and exclaiming how wonderful it tasted.  Folgers created TV commercials showing people smelling he aroma of coffee and waking up refreshed, without even drinking.  The result?  Folgers raced past Maxwell House to become the #1 selling coffee in the world and has retained its position for decades to this very day.  Notice – Folgers is not any different now than when it was #2.  The taste nor the aroma have ever changed.  Just the branding.

Products, people, businesses – they all can be branded for greater sales and higher profit margins.

If you wish to learn about branding from me and indeed actually be branded by me, simply attend one of my powerful branding experiences:

How Small Businesses Can Compete & Beat The “Big Dogs”

How Small Businesses Can Compete & Beat The “Big Dogs”

As a small business services consultant, one of the questions I get asked most often is: How can my business compete with big companies to win top-tier candidates?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to pay more or offer ridiculous benefits. And you won’t have to give away all of your profits in bonuses either…

Sure, it’s true that money is what motivates the VAST majority of us to come to work everyday. It’s also true that what we’re each willing to do and even not do increases with the size of a job offer.

Read more…

Why a Small Business Management Consultant Can Send Your Profits Soaring!

Why a Small Business Management Consultant Can Send Your Profits Soaring!

For most people, owning your own business sounds like a dream come true. You get to be your own boss, choose your hours, and make all the important decisions about how you’ll allocate your resources. That’s how it sounds…

Any real business owner knows the truth. That running a small business is much more complicated, time-consuming, and challenging that most people make it out to be. Even worse, running a small business is often less profitable than those on the outside believe.

That vast majority of small business owners earn a salary of exactly how much is left in their bank account after paying all of the expenses. At the end of some months, that may amount to a nice living. On others, well, it’s not a pretty picture.

With out proper planning and management, those margins can easily go negative. Quite honesty, that’s exactly how most small businesses go under.

Opportunity Favors the Prepared Mind

Now it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s no reason why your business has to live month-to-month with no real guiding philosophy or mission. Here’s the secret: Running a successful business is not rocket science. Nearly anyone can do it.

Surly you’ve met some at least one successful business owner that you were certain that you were smarter than. You probably wondered, “How can this mental midget run a successful company, while I can barely stay employed?”

Frankly, I don’t know how your acquaintance does it — maybe he or she inherited the business.

What I do know is how I manage to do it. And trust me, I’m no brain surgeon. So what’s my secret? It’s simple: I rely on management consultants. Most business owners do. That’s why they’re still in business.

The way I see it, who needs a prepared mind, when I can rent one at a very reasonable cost? It’s the opportunity that I’m seeking, after all, I’m not trying to earn an MBA. Right?

Building a relationship with a good management is often the difference between a flourishing business and a dream that went splat.

Making you into a Manager

Most entrepreneurs jump into a business with big ideas and lots of optimism. Typically, it’s not enthusiasm that we lack, it’s discipline… and probably foresight too. I mean, why else would we have been so enthusiastic about starting a business? Just kidding.

That’s why it’s so important to seek wise council. A good small business management consultant can help you craft a plan that set realistic goals and benchmarks. A management consultant will plan for setbacks, refunds, and unexpected costs that an inexperienced business owner wouldn’t foresee or know to plan for.

More often than not, it’s not the product that drops a business dead in its tracks. It’s unexpected costs and unexpected revenue hiccups during the growth process. These are exactly the reasons most small business owners need a management consultant.

You can’t do it all yourself, so stop pretending that you can be all things to all people all the time. Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you don’t score 100% in every aspect of management.

Believing that you somehow aced the management test is a sure sign that you’re in over your head. If you want your organization to grow, you can’t approach ever challenge alone. It’s a trap that you don’t want to find yourself in, trust me. If at no other times at all, every successful business needs management consulting during two phases.

Start-up and No Man’s Land

These are two of the most often written about stages of business development, but for very different reasons.

Most entrepreneurs love to fantasize about the start-up phase, mainly because it seems like the sky’s the limit and there are few if any limitations on where your business might be able to go. It’s an exciting time in the life of a business because it’s’ where you put your concept into action, finally getting real world feedback.

Obviously, start-up is also the time in which planning is absolutely essential. This includes staffing, strategic partnerships, and financial forecasts.

For any right-brained idea-man, or idea-woman, who’s launched a start-up, it becomes immediately apparent that you’re in over your head. If you’re overly meticulous, you may find yourself completely bogged down in routine tasks, never having enough time to develop new strategies and processes.

In either case, the clock is ticking and you’ll soon find out if you can hack it all by yourself…

Or you can do the smart thing and hire someone to teach you to become a better manager. Business management consulting is a great way to elevate your game quickly, by outsourcing the learning curve to someone who’s already been there and done that.

No Man’s Land is an entirely different story. Just as the name implies, this stage in the growth of a business is not so fun or exciting. It’s the point at which you business has grown large enough to no long be considered “small,” but is far from being “big” either.

No Man’s Land is the point at which you have to scale up and go big, or else begin to atrophy. In many ways, it’s a lot like the start-up phase, without all the illusions that made it so thrilling.

Because it involves even more fundraising, organizational efficiency, and staffing, No Man’s Land is where a business management consultant becomes no longer necessary, but mandatory.

Creating the Business You Want to Run

The best part about a good business management consultant is that they become an asset, rather than a cost. The changes they suggest should make you money, or at the very least free up time or money that can be better leveraged elsewhere.

After a basic, surface level analysis, it’s easy for any veteran consultant to spot the weaknesses in your market position. I hate to burst your bubble, but they’re there, even if you can’t see them.

A consultant should be able to analyze the marketplace your business operates in and offer up suggestions that will put your business in a better competitive position.

With better positioning, you company will become more marketable. With redundancies and other bottlenecks eliminated, your business will reduce costs, increase production, and become more profitable.

That’s why I always tell people that a good small business management consultant is a business asset. Rather than costing you money, a good consultant will make you money. Over the long run they’re advice will be worth exponentially more than it cost to acquire it.

With the right management and guidance, your company can become a mission driven machine that runs smoothly and rallies around the cause or purpose you initially envisioned. Businesses that are built to deliver on a clear purpose or goal are actually much easier to grow and maintain than a hastily cobbled together organization.

It’s really not all that surprising, when you think about it. Many of the biggest, most profitable companies in the world, the Apples, the Nordstroms, the Whole Foods, etc. are also the most inspiringly single-minded.

That’s the kind of business you originally wanted to own anyway.