Being a business owner can be an intense, scary, anxious lifestyle. It gets worse when you find out who your competitors are and when you look at what analysts predict your market to look like* (note to self: blog about how analysts base their predictions on past trends and surveys filled out by complete morons who are the only ones with enough spare time to fill out surveys for cheap gift cards because they donâ€™t have enough business to keep them from hitting the delete key the second they see something that is not the part of their mission)
When you look at the big, crazy world it is hard to keep things in perspective and see things for what they really are. You get scared, uncertain, unsure.. I understand, believe me. I compete with Google, Microsoft, IBM, Sun.. companies that have more people in their janitorial staff than I do in my entire company. By definition, I ought to be hiding in the shower, crying and scrubbing really hard. Yet, I donâ€™t. Why?
Here are the two polar opposites in business:
You can be the best.
You can be the cheapest.
Those are your narrow definitions of successful paths to follow. Lamborghini vs. Yugo. So you can set out to “Outferrari the Ferrari” and become a Lamborghini, but let’s face it, you’re probably not that good. So you try to be the Yugo, and in that attempt, you will be the same as every other business that closed its doors. No matter how cheap you think you can be, there is always China and India, where a worker costs a $1 a day and a Ph.D. goes for a $1 an hour. Even homeless bring in more $.
So if you can’t be the best or the cheapest, you look for compromise. You strive to be the best among what the customers actually need. How do you know? You ask them.
Now, the general guruhood will likely disagree with that statement, which is why they are gurus and experts in your industry, not its actual participators and innovators. The best among what the customer actually needs varies from client to client, from region to region, from niche to niche. The important part is listening and giving your customers a chance to talk. That scales, so long as your respect for your customer can grow along with your company and the feedback of the people that got you to the point where you are at now still matters, despite the revenue % their opinion may represent.
To them, you will always be the best. And that sure as hell beats spending more on advertising. If these concepts are foreign, hit this link again. And again, and again, and again until it changes every single pile of junk you call your marketing collateral.