Standing out

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By Mark Conacher, Director at Liberty Fitting Service Limited:

We are British!
We don’t want to stand out!
We want to conform! We want to fit in!

Don’t we?

Most of us fight the battle of conformity, of fitting in, every single day at some point or another, even when we don’t realise it. Standing out makes you a target, makes people look at you. Makes others judge you.

Therefore, when it comes to business a lot of business owners end up applying the same principles from their life, to their work.

Head down, work hard, don’t stand out, busy, busy, busy.

I just don’t think being head down and busy, means you are going to be successful!

It is said that in any given industry, give or take a few percent, that 80% of the businesses are either struggling or merely getting by. Yet, no one in the history of starting a business started out with the business plan to struggle or just get by.

So, what’s the answer?

I think the answer is to fight that natural British instinct and do everything we can to stand out. Find your way to stand out from whoever or wherever the crowd is in your industry.
Stand out from whoever that 80% is.

What makes you different from everyone else in your field? What do you do that no one else does? What do you think makes you better than everyone else? Why should your customers use you?

So, who are we looking to stand out to?

Certainly not everyone. We only want to stand out to the people who need to know. Therefore, we need to know exactly who we are going to tell. Who is our ideal customer? Who is actually our target market?

This area, I think, is where most small businesses actually give up and just market to everyone. Marketing to everyone is marketing to more people, so that’s bound to be right, right? Wrong!

Find out exactly who your market is.

Marketing ourselves to everyone is more time consuming, more expensive and therefore pointless. Pointless, when most of these people will never be one of our customers. We’re also going to need a lot of time and a lot of money to spread our net that far and wide. Taking the time to find out who we actually want to stand out too, is the smart choice.

Work out what your message is.

Now that we know exactly who our customer is, it’s time to work out what we are going to tell them. Our message. What we tell our customer has to be thought through carefully and has to be looked at through their eyes.

What are their fears? What are their preferences? What are their habits? How do they live their lives?

Once we have answers to these kinds of questions, we can begin to choose and direct the message of our unique skills appropriately, based on our ideal customer’s needs. If we can make that level of connection with them, we can’t help but stand out to them.

Choose your medium carefully?

That leaves us with, WHERE are we going to shout about it? What kind of media are we going to use to shout out our message?

The correct choice is, wherever our ideal customer is hanging out. If our ideal customers are a professional couple, mid-forties, big house, expensive cars, lavish holidays, it’s pretty pointless shouting about how good you are and standing out on Instagram at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon. They’re just not there. Our message needs to be seen wherever our customer is hanging out.

So now we know who our customers are.

We know what we are going to say to them. Lastly, we know where we are going to say it.

Now the best bit.

Just getting over that hurdle and actually putting it out there. The quality of the content is not always the most important. Good enough is sometimes, good enough. You shouldn’t over think it.
I’ve lost count of how many times, I’ve been metaphorically hiding under my desk and pressed, send!

We’re British and because we’re shouting about ourselves, the cringe factor doesn’t get easier, you just get used to the feeling. Slowly but surely, when the right people, see the right message in the right place, you should start to stand out.

Remember, at this time, we are not selling anything, we are educating our potential customers as to why we are different, why we are a good choice. We don’t need to sell our product at this time, we are selling us, we are offering valid, interesting information. We are offering value; we are answering their worries.

I started on this journey probably about two years ago, of changing the way I looked at our business, the way I looked at our customers.

I found myself mentors, people who I could look up to. I listen more, I pay more attention to the industry that I’m in. I’m far more aware now of what the 80% are doing or what they are not doing and now I do the opposite.

Is our business successful, who knows, what’s the benchmark of success?

Is our business Standing Out?

In our industry, in our niche, I like to think so.

We’ve definitely been told so.

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