In the current economic climate, we’re all working desperately hard to differentiate ourselves from our competitors – to stand out from the crowd. For the most part however, we’re all doing it wrong. We’re taking the easy path to difference: cheaper pricing, funky uniforms, crazy stunts … stuff that for the most part is gimmicky. And the problem with gimmicky stuff is it’s easy for others to top by being even cleverer with their gimmicks. In the end, this benefits no one. Not us, the people trying to run businesses we love (but also pay the bills), and not the people we’re trying to serve.
Enter my friend Bernadette Jiwa and her new book difference. The core of the book is Bernadette’s beautiful blueprint for business success: The Difference Map (which you can download here). It’s a one-page method for getting to the true heart of your business. It forces you to zero on the things you offer that are truly unique, the true difference between yourself and your competitors. The beauty of this true difference? It cannot be replicated by anyone else … because no one else is you.
I’ve always had a pretty good idea of what Swish Design brings to the table that no one else does, but getting out pen and paper and working my way through The Difference Map was still a hugely clarifying exercise. It really reinforced:
- The ethos I want everyone at Swish to work under.
- Exactly who it is we want to serve
- And how we want to serve them.
Most importantly, it showed how we want people to feel when they work with us.
Because as Bernadette has said in previous books of hers, people don’t buy what you do, they buy how you make them feel. As business owners it’s so easy to get so caught up in the daily minutiae of running our businesses that we forget why we’re here. We forget why we started our businesses in the first place. We lose sight of the difference we’re able to make to people’s lives. And really – if we’re not making a difference to people’s lives … should we even be in business?
So if you feel a bit like a hamster on a wheel right now. If you’ve lost sight of:
- Who you are,
- What you do,
- What you actually offer, and
- How you’re positively impacting the lives of your clients/customers,
I highly recommend reading difference and then getting your teeth into The Difference Map. It might be just the level of clarity you need right now.