At the last presentation of the year for the Professional Consultants Association here in Syracuse, John Hunt of Movin’ 100 put on a show that was quite unexpected. Well, that he was fabulous wasn’t unexpected. What he gave us definitely was. He had an interesting take on a lot of things that most of us see in business, and in the end, with the combination of stories and insight, he ended up with four main points that I took away from it all, and it’s hard to argue with any of them. Let’s take a look.
1. We are all competitors in some fashion. In his mind, it doesn’t matter what industry someone is in, if someone else is marketing themselves and you’re marketing yourself you’re competing for the same person’s dollar.
On the surface you might want to disagree with that but think of it this way. The customer has $200 to spend. Does the customer go to the grocery store, a retail store, pay for some coaching or consulting or maybe pay some bills? All of those things are different, but they’re all competing for those dollars the consumer has.
2. Use clean language & be specific in what your strength is. How many businesses do you see selling themselves as #1? Can every business be #1? Do you believe every business that says they’re #1?
The idea in business and marketing is to find that one thing that separates you from all the other people who do what you do. That’s not as easy as it seems, but it can be done. Domino’s promises you’ll have pizza delivered to you in 30 minutes or you get it free. Cracker Jacks always promised a free prize in the box, no matter how cheesy it was. Time Warner Cable allows you to stop live programs for a short while, or go back to the beginning of a program or to any spot in between; you want to see that touchdown or home run again, you can, over and over, and no one else offers that right now. What can you do or do you do that will separate you from everyone else?
3. Look at your strengths and your competitors weaknesses. Most everyone has heard of the SWOT analysis, right? John’s take on it is slightly different when you look at weaknesses.
The example he gave us was in looking at an ice cream stand that was very popular. It was also next to a dump, and when the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, it made for a bad customer experience. So, he worked with his client on a marketing plan emphasizing that no matter what time of year, no matter the weather, your ice cream experience would always be wonderful.
4. Opportunities don’t slam competitors, then enhance their own strengths. John’s big point was that when you decide to slam your competitors that it can make you look petty, and that’s not a good business impression to leave on anyone.
Instead, what makes you better than everyone without having to name anyone else? This can be hard to decide because many times we’re not really taught how to talk about ourselves without trying to show why we’re better than someone else. We’re also taught not to talk all that much about ourselves, not to brag if you will, and thus we fight our instincts.
These are some great business lessons to learn and think about, especially for small businesses. What do you think you can offer to others, and learn from what you see here?