What’s so different, huh?
 
Is there anything that makes your business different from your competitors? Anything?
 
Forget about what you THINK makes you different. I hear things like, “it’s our people; we’re like a family here.” Ha! More like a family than you know. Half the employees are waiting for someone to “retire” so they can move up. There are a few businesses that engender true loyalty but it’s pretty rare. Dangle a better opportunity in front of one of these family members and see how quickly they jump to a new family.
 
Difference. What’s really different? The internet has opened your customer’s buying world. Do they buy from you out of convenience? Price? Quality? Frankly, I find it easier and sometimes cheaper to buy “basics” online rather than make the 25 mile drive to Walmart. I can order a toner cartridge and have it delivered to my door within 48 hours.
 
If I drive all the way to Wally World there’s a good chance they’ll be out of the cartridge I need. Call first? I’d be lucky to get someone on the phone who knows what a printer is let alone which cartridge belongs in my printer. 
 
You’ve got to do something to distinguish your business. Your customers have far too many options. You had better start thinking about this. How can you separate your business from the pack?
 
Example: TeachU (I know, it’s shameless). There a zillion “consultants” out there. I’m competing with thousands of other “experts” for an opportunity to work for you. We all claim to be able to improve or help your business. A consultant can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. How does TeachU stand out? I offer a guarantee. If things don’t improve, you don’t pay.
 
This isn’t intended to be an advertisement for my business. I’m trying to offer an example of what one business does to be different. Guarantees are not common in my field. You’ll never get a guarantee from an advertising saleman. “Yes, a TV ad that costs you $10,000 will generate $20,000 in profits or we won’t charge you.” You’ll NEVER hear that. If advertising always worked, they’d guarantee the results. If it worked most of the time, they’d guanantee the results and absorb the cost of those ads that didn’t produce glorious results. Today, advertising rarely works.
 
That’s scarry. It means you MUST be remarkable, different, special to survive.
 
If you’re doing something remarkable at your business, let me know about it. I’ll post it.
 
If you’re not, maybe we should be working on that.
 
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog