What Makes Your Business Unique?
Some always asks this question, it’s a way of measuring whether that someone should do business with you or not. I was on a Forum this week and someone posted the thread title exactly as this post.
Let’s do this, let’s say you own a business with a saturated market, you and thousands like you sell and support the exact same product & service. You have the same inventory, you have almost identical costs. You can’t just say you have the world’s best support and get away with it. So what is more important, uniqueness, or solving a problem? Do people do business with you because you are different (unique), or because you actually solve a problem?
Is it a chicken & egg thing? I frequent a restaurant here in my community, it’s unique only in that they do something to the food. They have tables, waiters & waitresses, menu’s, alcohol, friendly staff, and good service. How do they make it? I mean there are literally hundreds of restaurants in my community, why should I eat at this location? Because they are unique? I don’t go there because they are different.
They do solve a problem for me, but I can get my problem solved anywhere, so why do I keep going back to this establishment. It’s simple really, and it should be for you. The common denominator for me is not uniqueness or a problem being solved, it’s because of the relationship I have with the owners. Ya, the food they serve is different, it’s an acquired taste for this old man, the food is fabulous. I know we don’t think of hunger as a problem that needs to be solved in this country, but if we were in a 3rd world country with a food shortage, that would be different. They would be solving my problem of hunger…if I could get in, or could afford to eat there.
All businesses should do one thing extremely well, and that is to make sure, no matter what the cost, your customers don’t have a reason to speak poorly about you and your business. How are you doing with that, and how do you measure your success & failure, better yet, how quickly do you fix the brokenness?
While sifting through the Forums posts on this topic, someone posted a funny, in reference to the question of uniqueness. They said, we’ve got a dragon : ) that is kinda cool isn’t it. I would probably come see you if you had a dragon.
So, is it more important to be different, does being different bring you business? It might if you solve a problem in a cool unique way, in a way no one has ever done before. But it still has to solve a problem, it can’t just be a novelty, or an amusing thing.
I do believe it’s a combination of being unique, solving a problem, while maintaining and or building on the relationship with your clients. It’s a small town rule thing, everyone wants to be treated special, with respect, and most of all, they want to know you care before they do. So which is it, uniqueness, solving a problem, or is it the relationship? By today’s standards, not yesterdays. And just what are those standards anyway?
What do you think is more important, uniqueness or solving a problem?
I had this very conversation the other day, and it had me thinking about your problem, about how your problem is my problem. This is how all business owners should think really. Now, we are in the midst of an election here in Canada, the best well crafted mud slinging money can buy is making itself known. One thing I can’t fix is, how politicians need to do, how to fix the broken trust constituents have with their MLA’s / political geniuses in their riding.
On May 2nd we will have to vote, I will have to decide which Kool-Aid I’m going to drink, it’s a conundrum. In this country, whomever lies the best gets elected, you can see and feel my lack of trust with that statement can’t you. I have friends on both sides of the fence, we have multiple parties but we really only have two options to vote for. In this situation, your problem is my problem, but I don’t have any control over your problem, I can only vote, and it may not be in the same camp as yours. But enough talk on politics.
The truth is, if you are a business owner, or your part of a business, your problem should be solving my problem and vice versa. We tend to think in terms of dollars and cents most of the time, and we call ourselves by our profession, if you do landscaping, your a landscaper, but I think that’s the wrong view to take.
If you are a landscaper, stop calling yourself one, what you should be is a problem solver, you should be solving a particular problem my yard is having. If you haven’t talked to your potential client yet, survey the land(scape) of that property and find a problem to fix first before contacting them. Find a need, then fill that need. An old small town rule that will continue to work till the death of all mankind.
Once you’ve identified a problem, knock on the door and introduce yourself, share the observed problem, tell them what will happen if they don’t fix it, and that you can fix it for them toot sweet. Your problem is solving my problem, the square dance of business, it’s still the future of business.
As a business owner, are you solving problems? If not, it’s one sure fired way to improve your business, just sayin.
So look at your business today and ask the question, who’s problem am I solving today, and how often can I repeat the process.
Your problem is always solving my problem and vice versa.