All I’ve ever wanted in business is an ‘unfair advantage.’ Before you raise your eyebrows, let me define the term. An ‘unfair advantage’ is not lying, cheating, or stealing. It’s exactly the opposite. An ‘unfair advantage’ is doing everything just a little bit better than your competition. And even if you’ve been in business for many years and you’re at the top of your profession, in today’s competitive world you also need to do everything just a bit better today than you did it yesterday. That’s your ‘unfair advantage.’ It’s not always easy.
Do you remember the movie STAYING ALIVE, the sequel to SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER? It’s about how the John Travolta character pursues a career as a professional dancer, all the highs and lows (with a little romance thrown in.) The last scene is an incredible dance routine. As my friend Kookie and I danced out of the theater afterwards, I had a revelation: the trouble with life is that it’s just too short to be good at very many things! The dedication and discipline that the Travolta character needed to become a great dancer didn’t leave him much time for anything else. That’s the problem with working and being in business today.
The future belongs to those who are competent in many different areas. To be successful in any industry, you need to be a technically adept, charismatic communicator with exceptionally good work habits, good people skills, and an abundance of healthy energy. (And it doesn’t hurt if also you look good and dress well.)
There’s an old saying, ‘If you build a better mouse trap, people will beat a path to your door.’ That was true once, but not today. Having the best product or service does not automatically guarantee you success. That’s because:
- People do business with people they know.
- People do business with the people who do business with them.
- People do business with people their friends talk about.
- People do business with people they read about.
As my friend David Garfinkel says about every business success, “Do your customers know?”
Start now to develop your own unfair advantage and build your client base.
- What one thing can you do better than your competition? How can you let the world know about your advantage?
- What one activity can you improve on? Decide whether this improvement is worth the energy it will require. If so, what one step can you take this week?
- Are you collecting stories and quotes from your satisfied clients?
- If the answer is; Yes; are you using them in your sales presentations, letters, website, emails, sales letters, brochures?