"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly."
--- Albert Einstein
In his book, Purple Cow, Seth Godin explains the importance of being remarkable. He states that if you are not making remarkable products or providing remarkable services, then you are invisible to your potential customers.
Sounds obvious: make remarkable stuff and people will come. Unfortunately, too many of us settle for the same ole, same ole. We spend a little money on advertising our mediocre products and so-so service and hope that people will buy from us. One of the points that Mr. Godin makes in his book is that you also need to be working on something out of the ordinary (like a Purple Cow) that will stand out and put you on top.
"Creating a close connection to those you do business with has its many risks, rewards and consequences. There are few things in business I have encountered that are more difficult than firing someone, particularly if that someone has always been, or has become a friend. On the flipside, I have been rewarded with many friends"
--- Mark Cuban
Here are three reminders in this issue for all of us who get caught up in doing business as usual. First, network at every possible opportunity. Advertising still works and you should continue with what you are putting in now to your marketing efforts. In fact, you should push your marketing efforts even harder now that others are cutting back.
But, increase your networking as well. Attend industry meetings, local business gatherings, and Chamber functions. These will help you to show off your ordinary stuff as well as your remarkable.
"We're responsible for the creation of the PC industry. The whole idea of compatible machines and lots of software.. that's something we brought to computing. And so it's a responsibility for us to make sure that things like security don't get in the way of that dream."
--- Bill Gates
Second, continue brainstorming, daydreaming, and goal-setting. Remember to write these down and place them where you see them every day, or at least once a week. Keep your passion alive and in the forefront of all that you do.
"Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbour was."
--- Helen Keller
Thirdly, get more educated! You don't have to go back to school, but attend trade functions, read trade magazines, read other industry publications (good ideas come from these), and listen to audiotapes. When you feel you've mastered a function of your business, teach others. Hold seminars and classes for those in your area. This is another great form of learning. When you teach it, you learn even more. Force yourself into continual education.
"A man does what he must.. in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures.. and that is the basis of all human morality."
--- John F. Kennedy