When I was young my parents encouraged me to question the status quo. They told me that because it was always “done that way” didn’t necessarily mean it was the best way to do it.
They challenged me to speak up when I had a different idea – while at the same time warning me that I’d better have my thoughts and my facts ready when I did speak!
Because of them – when confronted with a problem an issue or an idea – I learned to ask two questions – why and why not?
Today those same thoughts drive the way I look at all businesses:
- If everyone can brew and pour coffee what makes the coffee you are offering better/different/more desired?
- If there are 100 plumbers that can fix that pipe for a customer, what are you doing to make people want to choose you?
- If there are 40 marketing companies that can develop a brand strategy in your city, how do you approach it that will be relevant to a client?
We can all learn to do something. People are always teaching the “proper” way to do something, and we can go usually go right from that teaching into business to offer the service. But if we all learn the same things, and the same ways, and then go blindly into the industry; we end up with a lot of the “same” – undifferentiated, unspectacular, uninspiring services.
Before you open that coffee shop, fix that pipe or offer that new marketing plan – ask yourself how can I do this differently, what can I do to put my mark on this project, and most importantly – how can I stand out from all the “same”?
It may take a bit of time – but it will be worth it.