Everybody Has a Brand: Rise Above Mediocrity
We all have high opinions of ourselves.
Talk to any random person in your industry and you will hear the same refrain: "We focus on the needs of our customers and provide world-class services at cost-effective prices" or something equally nonsensical. If you don't believe me, check the website of three of your closest competitors. Then read your own website.
Of course these high platitudes are not true. You do not live in Lake Woebegon, where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." No offense intended, but the average person — or company — is . . . umm, average.
And yet, regardless of who you are or whether you live in Garrison Keillor's fictional town, you and your business have the ability to be well above average, even exceptional. The key is to find your niche, hone your skills, and make your excellence visible.
The first step in overcoming mediocrity is to realize that you cannot be all things to all people. Remember, a "Jack of All Trades" is the Master of None. You must narrow your focus and find your niche. Then narrow your focus again. Find a way to distinguish yourself from your competitors.
Your distinction — your differentiation — may be your geographic focus, your target market, or the manner in which you deliver your services. It may be the way you charge for your services, your guarantee of satisfaction, or your market leadership. Because Nobody Cares About You, you must Think Like a Client, and distinguish yourself in a way that is meaningful to your client.
After you find your niche, you must hone your skills and attention to an increasingly finer point. Focus and refocus on the differentiation that sets your business apart from the competition. Develop new and different ways to deliver your services. Change, revise, and improve. Then do it again. Your work is Always and Never Done.
As you continue to hone your skills, you must make your growing excellence visible to the people who matter most: your clients.
You show that excellence through the way you package your services, the consistency of your marketing materials, and the quality of your writing. Your office environment, your reliable performance, and your unswerving attention to detail reinforce your excellence. Every interaction with a client or prospect either strengthens or diminishes your perceived excellence.
Though you may not live in Lake Woebegon, you can Rise Above Mediocrity.
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11/8/2009 9:30 AM
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