It wasn’t so hard to skate by when all ships were buoyed, when everyone was flush with cash. You didn’t have to work so hard to show you were the best. Or at least better than others. You just had to be good enough to take a big enough piece of the pie to get by.
Not any more (though, honestly, that’s never been my approach anyway).
When money gets tighter, people get pickier. Which means, if want to continue to not only survive, but thrive, you’re going to need to dig a bit more deeply into the differentiation well and publicly showcase why you are the woman, man or business that people should be handing their money over to.
Perfect example. Walking down the block looking for a place to grab lunch with my wife on a weekday, we passed 7 or 8 restaurants and every single one was close to being empty. Then we poked our heads into the local pub. We’d never been there before. And, it was packed.
Not because people were drinking their troubles away. They were all sitting and eating. And, 75% were moms in their 30s and 40s. Whaaa?
It wasn’t long until we figured out what was going on. This little pub had figured out a way to shine, while all the restaurants around them stumbled. Along with their standard menu, we were each given a long, 6 inch wide piece of paper and a red pen.
On the paper were about 50 different options for chopped salad mix-ins. We each sat choosing our salad items and, a few minutes later, two giant finely-chopped salads arrived at our table. We dove in, couldn’t finish either and reveled about how we never about this hidden salad gem before. But, clearly others had.
Since then, this little grill has become our go-to place for taking out, ordering in and the occasional dinner with friends, family style.
Because … they get it.
People are looking for value more than at any other time in decades. And, if you can’t strongly differentiate yourself, you and your business become fungible replaceable interchangeable.
And, that’s an awful place to be in a down economy.
So, how will you differentiate and showcase your unique value in 2009?
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About the Author: Jonathan Fields is a former hedge-fund lawyer turned serial lifestyle entrepreneur, copywriter, Internet and direct marketer, speaker and writer. You can find him blogging on entrepreneurship and lifestyles at Awake At The Wheel, crafting high-impact copy for clients at Vibe Creative or training people to become entrepreneurs and career renegades at Career Renegade. His next book, also called Career Renegade, is due out from Random House/Broadway Books In January 2009.