So, I've always prided myself on being an individual. That's it. Very simple. That's my punch line. I've never been one to purchase the most obvious buy in the mall. I would rather look at the other pieces of clothing and mix and match. A dreadful day it was, back in college...I got all dressed and really casual yet cute looking. Walked downstairs to the college event and someone else had on the same exact outfit as I did. In complete horror, I ran back upstairs and changed. I thought to myself, "Now how in the world did she find that shirt?". Needless to say, everyone was making comments on the fact that we were wearing the same thing. Even though the shirt was really unique and unlike anything the average person would wear, we both had it on. AWKWARD!!! The other girl thought it was actually a cute coincidence and didn't seem to mind. NOT!!!
I am a part of an industry that houses over 10,000 people providing practically the same business model to make a living from. Even though I started out with the same exact business model, something in my gut did not allow me to stay there. I would always imagine my business right there, smack dab in the middle of 10,000 firms just like mine on the strip of the red carpet. They all had the same basic branding, services offered and operational structure. They all charged the same amount, used the same tools and were a part of the same social groups. Can you imagine trying to be seen or even standout in that atmosphere? Well, I couldn't imagine it for the life of me. For one, I hate competition. Now, don't get me wrong, I hate it, however, I welcome it. I have a quiet confidence in what I have to offer and bring to the table. When I started in this industry, I took my time to learn and enhance upon my skills. I looked at what others were doing and what they weren't willing to do and went from there.
Three years later, I've developed an existence that gives my business a halo of light each time we walk down the red carpet. My business stands out and I'm proud of that. Not only does it stand out, I make sure we follow through with our image from the first sight, to the actual contact, on through to the beginning and ending of a client's relationship with us. Remembrance is more important to me than anything else. Is our focus only on trying to get new clients? No, it's actually not. I would rather my company be known for sharing and community. This is our secret. This is how we draw our clients.
How are you making strides to stand out from the crowd on the red carpet of business recognition? This has worked for me and of course, you are not required to follow my method, however, it's something that's proven over and over again by entrepreneurs and small businesses that I coach.
BRAND YOUR BUSINESS BRILLIANT
The one thing I realized that needed to be consistent was our brand’s color palette (most importantly), the name and the symbols or icons. Remember, a good business name will establish marketing recall and build early equity.
Try these strong points:
When you walk into a room (Facebook, Twitter, a Community Event, wherever) you want to say something or post something that will make people want to know who you are. Make your presence known. Introduce yourself and what you do to help people. Get in on the social scene, whether it's online groups or offline events. Prepare your Elevator Speech and alter it according to where you are and who you're talking to. Make sure you start off as the listener in the first half of the conversation. How else are you going to know how to offer the right services or products to your listening ears? Always display and offer your expertise humbly and with authenticity.
BECOME THE ODD BALL
If everyone else in your industry is doing "this", then, you should be the only one doing "that". Often times, the way I do business isn't understood by many of my peers. They don't understand how we can be in the same industry, offering the same services but my business is more favored over theirs. Hmmm...let's see. I've simply taken something and enhanced it to suit what business owners really need. I've taken the norm and altered it to provide more of a benefit to those that seek my help. I listen to the needs of the "individual", what they really prefer and what they're hoping for. I offer them my exact service and situation that would suit them better. Instead of telling them that "this is the way we do business...it's my way or the highway", I help them to realize the benefits of what we have to offer and how it's going to help them better. I provide them with examples and case studies to give them a clear vision of what to expect.
So, as you can see, standing out isn't so bad. When you're different from the rest, it makes people want to know who you are. With strong standards, creativity, a little flexibility, an essence of community and passion for what we do, I've managed to turn my company into a red carpet winner. Humbly, genuinely and authentically! For me, I'm just having fun helping others follow through on their dreams. You can do the same for your business as well. Take a chance and research others in your industry, get modernized and redesign your company to stand on its own, apart from the others. It will really pay off in the end.
by Michelle Hill-Smith