Be Your Own Boss and Start Your Own Business

Starting your own business is an achievement in itself that you should be excited about but it is only the starting point. The next thing you must do is find a way to make it stand out from the crowd. Ask yourself what is different about your business and what you can do to make it remarkable. A truly remarkable business must be your aim! We will explore some tips and ideas for making your business stand out from the crowd. We will also look at how to bring the WOW factor to your business. This will in turn give you an edge over your competition. Are you ready to get started?

Let us look at the concept of the “Purple Cow”. After you have been looking at cows for a while they all basically look the same. They all become common, ordinary and needless to say, dull and boring. But a purple cow is something that would be very different and indeed quite remarkable. A purple cow would attract attention; it would be the start of many conversations and it would be a draw for people everywhere. It would not be forgotten almost immediately. That is what you need to stand out from the crowd and rise above the rest- your own version of the purple cow.

The purple cow gives rise to remarkable marketing. It is the art of building something into the product or service that you sell that will be taken notice of by customers. How you market your product is not enough. You can use the fanciest advertising you can think of but without a purple cow it will remain invisible. You need to color it purple to get it to jump out and say “HERE I AM!”

Many business owners do not put the principle of the remarkable purple cow to work in their businesses because they do not know how to come up with that really magnificent idea that will blow everyone away. This takes work and a few people putting their heads together and coming up with some ideas.

Another reason that you see so few purple cows in the marketplace is because people fear criticism, success and being disliked by others. If you are remarkable then you will receive criticism and it will hurt. There will also be whispers behind your back and you will not be liked by everybody. But really who is anyway? Those who stand out in any manner are always more open to ridicule and scrutiny. It is the price you pay to be truly remarkable.

However, looking at the concept of the purple cow, these things stand out. “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing.” and “In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” Being invisible may be safe but it will not lead to you reaching the top of the mountain. If you want to take a stab at true greatness and excellence then you must resist the urge to play by the rules and be safe. You must be brave, be bold and not be afraid to be unique. Remember the saying, “No guts, no glory”? It is right on the money!

To stand out from the crowd and be a little bit taller than your competitors you need to figure out what makes you different. From there you focus on that and find ways to celebrate it. Your differences will then be the foundation for your unique selling point. To figure this out you must have a vision for your company. To brand your business it is essential that you are as clear as possible about what your vision is. Ask yourself what is different about your products or services? Once you know what that is you can then find ways to package your products in a different manner that makes other people say WOW!

Your business plan must include a way to be remarkable. Every business has the ability to do this. Don’t be lazy or make excuses- put work and plenty of forethought into this. After all, practically anyone can open a business or offer a service but you must go one step further. You need to go the extra mile and put in the extra effort. Don’t put in 100 percent effort but 200 percent. Find your niche and then take the initiative to be you but a you that is different from everyone else. You can sell the same products as 50 other businesses but you will have the hook that draws customers in.

You are the business owner but are you recognizable to the patrons you serve? Do people know who you are? Are you hands on in your business or are you rarely around? Do you offer a unique personal touch that cannot be found elsewhere? Personal connection is important.

People like to feel that their business matters and that they matter when they walk through the door. Cathy and Joe can go anywhere for their Sunday morning coffee and bagel. However, if you are visible in your coffee shop, and are there to greet customers and learn their names then you will set yourself apart for having that extra special touch that makes them want to come back again and again.

Many customers also like comfortable predictability. They like to know what to expect and they like consistency. You need to put yourself in your own business and to show your customers that they make a difference. Don’t hide away in your office because that will not endear anyone to you and will not make your business remarkable in any way. You are the heart of the business so give it the beating heart it deserves.

The WOW factor is the quality that makes something surprising, impressive, or amazing. To have the WOW factor in your business you do not have to break the bank or do something totally outrageous. Your aim is to provide your customers with a fantastic experience that will make them exclaim, “WOW!” This will then bring them back time and time again and it will encourage them to tell others about their utterly amazing WOW experience at your place of business. Kudos for you!

The WOW factor does not have to be huge nor does it have to involve constant or extreme change. It could be as simple as offering your customers a delicious treat to enjoy while they browse through your business. It could be returning telephone calls faster than other businesses do. It could be free offers, contests or raffles. It could be handing out flowers to mothers on Mother’s Day or candy canes (or hand wrapped chocolates) at Christmas time. To get the attention of your demographic you need to find a way to wow people.

Use your imagination. Ask yourself what wows you. Maybe you can choose a way to wow people that has nothing to do with the products or services you sell. Perhaps the element of total surprise is what will work for you. Be original. Be creative. Think WOW and then make it a reality in your business.

You don’t get points in the current marketplace for repeating a tired old idea or for being a copycat. You must develop your own unique personal style in every aspect of your business. This includes everything from the ground up. Your personal style can be your purple cow. You are unique because there is only one you in this world so take that with you and take it wherever you need it to go.

Your personal style should shine through loud and clear in every way. From the design on your business cards to your letterhead to the way you dress at work to how you conduct business to how your business is laid out. Don’t look at the business down the street that is doing well and try to replicate it. Your potential customers will see right through that and will never end up becoming regular customers.

You already have your own personal style in your personal life so take that and transfer it into your professional life. Be yourself and let that become evident to others. Communicate your own unique special style to everyone you deal with in your business and the good word will start to spread around. Wow people by not being afraid to be who you are. By being honest upfront with your customers they can then decide for themselves if your business is where they want to spend their money or not.

Imagery is a powerful tool that can help you to keep a steady stream of customers happy. It is also a way to stand out from the crowd. Take imagery and use it in a creative and unique way. Bring it to every aspect of your business, be it online, offline or a bit of both. Use it in the creation of your business cards, your flyers and your marketing materials. Make your advertising items as fun and as appealing to the eye as possible. This will get people talking which is what you want. To be remarkable people need to know that you are out there and that you are doing things a little different than other businesses of your kind.

These things all send the message that you care about your business and therefore your customers. Think of the businesses that you have enjoyed and appreciated over the years. Did they use color and design and imagery in a way that pleased you? These are the elements that stay with you. Your business can work the same.

Sometimes going the extra mile for your customers makes you special. Standing out from the crowd means offering the rare treats that customers do not get anywhere else. Fads come and go but you need to strive for something that is different but offers the traditional touch. Not all restaurants offer old-fashioned milkshakes to their customers. Be the first one that does that. All of your customers will not want to drink soda pop so offer them something that they cannot get down the street.

There are so many things you can do to show your customers that you value their business. Start with excellent customer service, quality products, guarantees for your products and value for the dollar. These are not fads by any means. They are traditions that you should adhere to in every way. These important elements will always be in style.

In order to make your business remarkable you need to ask yourself the right questions. You need to ask new questions and come up with newer answers. You need to try new ways of doing things. You are probably tired of hearing that you need to think outside of the box. Why not redesign the box so you don’t have to think outside of it at all?

If you could choose your own customers who would you choose? Identify this group and then figure out how to market to them and influence their thinking. Develop your business ideas to cater to this group. Forget the rest. Focus on this group. You also need to think of clever and innovative ways to reward this group for choosing you in return.

Ask your customers for their email addresses and then think of what you could send them through email that would make them feel as special as possible. Everyone loves an offer to receive 10 or 15 percent off a purchase. Everyone also likes to feel that they are in an elite group known as your most loyal and valuable customers.

The Pareto Principle (the 80:20 Rule) teaches us that it is much easier to hold onto a long-term customer than to find a new one. According to this principle, 80 percent of your business will come from 20 percent of your loyal customers. You need a combination of both. Find ways to keep surprising your customers and putting smiles on their faces!

Being remarkable and standing out does not necessarily mean being the biggest or the fastest or the anything. It is about testing the limits and figuring out how much they can be pushed. It may be as simple as changing the display in your store window more often, letting your employees choose their own uniforms, launching a new brand or slashing prices. It might be doing things on a smaller scale. It may mean giving your customers more choices or being more receptive to their input. It might mean sending out a weekly or monthly newsletter or creating advertisements with larger print that are simpler to read and understand.

Do your research before you burst onto the scene and seek to declare how remarkable you are. Examine the industry you are in and find out what is not taking place. What is presently absent in the industry? What does it need? Whatever is not being done is exactly what you should be doing. This will give you the edge you need to be a winner in your field. Success can only come if you do not sit on the sidelines and are not afraid to break some rules and ruffle some feathers. Your business is worth it after all.

Reinvent yourself and your business as you see fit. When you need to infuse new life into your business- any aspect of it- hire professionals who can help you do that. Your business is only as good as the people in your employ so find the best and let them help you to make your business a purple cow that stands out among the brown cows.

To make your business stand out from the crowd and to be a crowd pleaser at the same time you need to find the purple cow that makes your business remarkable. Once you know what that is you then must find ways to make your company different than other ones of its kind. You also must make yourself visible and recognizable to your customers. From there you must infuse the WOW factor into your business. Find out what works and make it a part of your company. Cultivate a personal style and let it loose. Use imagery to make your customers feel good in your surroundings and use a traditionalist touch in your approach as an entrepreneur as opposed to following trends.

How To Make Your Business Remarkable

Seth Godin teaches the value of making your business remarkable, most notably in his book Purple Cow (a must-own book, by the way).

So how do we put Seth’s ideas to work in our own businesses?

Why are some businesses remarkable and others are not?

A story about my friend Felix will help you understand how to make your business or service stand out – even in a field where there are many choices all offering much the same service.

Felix is a cab driver.

When I travel to the many Internet Marketing Seminars I attend each year, I often have Felix pick me up from my front doorstep and deliver me to the airport.

That’s because I’m forced to take early flights (from Spokane, you must connect to a major airport to get anywhere), and my wife is usually not thrilled about taking me to the airport at 4:00 in the morning.

Felix owns and operates a single taxi cab in Spokane, and he does it with spectacular success.

What makes him different from all of the other taxi cab operators? I like to think it’s three factors which I denote by the initials P.S.A.

P is for Personality. Felix’s service is personality-driven. He stands out from other cab drivers — distinguished by his irascible, talkative, and friendly style. In fact, I don’t really think of Felix as my “cab driver”… I think of him simply as “my driver”. Let that sink in for a moment; is that how your customers see you in your category?

S is for Service. Felix is service-oriented. He never says “no”, his cab is always immaculate and clean. Even though it has 550,000 miles on it, it looks brand-new and is in top physical condition. There are always candies in the dish on the dashboard.

A is for adaptable. Felix is always adaptable — even if he cannot supply my ride to the airport, he’s the first one to suggest another cab driver who will be able to get me to my destination on time.

Integrating these parts of the Felix Factor into your own marketing for your company can make a world of difference.

Ask yourself how you can you make your product or service more personal, more service-focused, and more adaptable to the needs of your customer.

You just might find you’ve learned some valuable lessons from a small-town taxi driver named Felix.

Nine Ways To Make Your Business Remarkable

In what is an unforgiving global economy, there is little doubt that our businesses are under intense pressure to provide greater results on tighter budgets and shorter schedules. Every market is routinely asking us to be remarkable in our products and services. To be less than remarkable, especially in areas of customer service, information security, product quality or competitive pricing means taking the risk of losing customers on a large-scale. This reality requires businesses to strategically and continuously seek new demand and opportunity. Here are nine ways to help you make your business and your products and services remarkable.

Businesses like Amazon and iTunes set the example in creating new demand by redefining both their business and their market. They were innovative in growing their businesses and found ways to dominate their markets by aligning their products and services towards value hungry customers. They were successful in doing this because they focused on meeting their customers’ needs. They worked with knowledgeable and experienced teammates to identify new opportunities to meet these needs. They found new demand and then methodically took action to deliver innovative products and services that were welcomed and valued by their customers. Amazon and iTunes successfully created new markets where they remain leaders today. Value was defined, developed and integrated into existing business models. And make no mistake; this was done on purpose.

Other businesses can learn from these examples by forming their own experienced and knowledgeable teams to go after new demand in their own markets. It takes insight and courage to find and win new demand and then dominate this demand by setting the example. Your team will need leadership, close peer-to-peer relationships, deep customer specific knowledge of the market, and direct hands-on experience with the product or service. They also need skill in managing and integrating change.

Our businesses are free to choose to be remarkable, to maximize results in shorter timelines through innovative solutions. Experience tells us how:

1) Work with knowledgeable stakeholders and experienced professionals and expect them to bring forward new ideas or technologies that are noticed by the market. Welcome these ideas and then choose the best to work with you as you will need to create dominance to be the best.

2) Use insights between your clients and your own experiences, as this will produce amazingly quick and positive results.

3) Be the leader of your market by setting the example in your products and services, especially when customers and ethics are involved. By always setting the example in areas where your services touch your clients, you will capture new demand.

4) Provide dramatic improvements as these get noticed, especially in the area of pricing. Exceeding value and low cost expectations gets you noticed.

5) Assess your teams’ processes and procedures, as this will organize areas that may benefit from great organization. But be careful not to slow down opportunities, creativity and customer service. Exceed expectations while managing the opportunity.

6) Allow for easy communication between every member and stakeholder, especially in areas of customer service or where customers see or feel the impact of inefficiencies, poor quality or little value. Correct inefficiencies quickly and transparently when customers are involved. Expect collaboration between your team so opportunities and improvements happen quickly.

7) Measure performance of your products and services so that you can find improvements in quality and timeliness before your customers ask for or notice them. Align your activities performance goals towards value, innovation and quality as primary goals.

8) Look for ways where your services and the value of your products and services are explained for free and on demand. Use videos on your open website and ask for comments and feedback on all of your products and services.

9) Strive to be unique and the best option in your products and services.

During times of change and struggle, the only businesses that thrive and grow are those that interact with their customers and other stakeholders so that opportunities are taken advantage of as quickly as possible. This only happens when organizations and the individuals in them have the courage and skill to take the necessary and brave steps forward. These businesses see and win new demand because they are more nimble and able to more quickly consider unexpected opportunities. Including the need for finding and capturing new demand in your business’s strategic thinking will enable your business to tactically take every challenge and opportunity.