Just Plain Vanilla
By Tom Irmen
How do your customers or, more importantly, your potential new customers view your small business? Nothing slows up the line at Baskin Robbins faster than the addition of a new flavor. Customers’ eyes feast on the numerous choices available before selecting that much anticipated flavor that will arouse their taste buds. Meanwhile, over in the corner of the freezer display is poor old vanilla.
If your customers and prospective new customers view your small business as poor old vanilla, you had better be prepared for a plain vanilla response. Perhaps it’s because we, as entrepreneurs, invest so much of our day immersed in our daily activities that we take for granted just how unique our companies are. But at the end of the day, if you’re the only one that knows how unique you truly are, you’re just plain old vanilla to consumers.
I recently visited with one of the owners of a home improvement company. The quality of the work they perform is consistent with the quality offered by their competitors. But they’re unique from their competition many ways:
» They fabricate the product they install.
» Their installation time is much faster.
» They don’t charge for many of the extra services they provide.
» They don’t employ commissioned sales people.
I was sold. Unfortunately, very few people beyond those in attendance at our meeting are aware of how truly unique this small business really is. Plain old vanilla, right? I asked myself, “Just how much has their failure to communicate their unique differentiating characteristics cost them?” I’d say hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
If your small business is experiencing lackluster performance, you’d be well-advised to ask yourself whether anybody beyond your associates knows just how unique you are. The cost of communicating your uniqueness is far less than the sales opportunities you’re missing.
Are you that delectable rocky road fudge ice cream or that plain old vanilla relegated to the back of the freezer case?