This week I’ve been helping people with boring businesses. The businesses themselves aren’t boring, nor are the people who run them, but the businesses look just the same as their competitors, and there’s nothing to make someone want to buy from them or even notice them.
Boring businesses with no true differentiation
Any differentiation has just been on the nebulous ideas that “we’re nice chaps” or “we’re really good at what we do.” But of course, everyone thinks that they are a nice chap, or that they’re the best, but you don’t have any evidence of it.
I’m really lovely, and amazing at what I do, but how do I prove it to you? Anyway, people don’t spend money with you because you’re nice. Particularly at the moment, with the new rule that it’s bad to let any cash out of the door, people are only going to spend money if there’s an amazing reason for it.
To get people to buy from you, you have to get them to notice you first. My friend Aida is this one that you want – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. She’s great Aida, a lovely girl. And you won’t get even the first letter of Aida’s name if you’re boring – people don’t pay attention to boring businesses.
Boring businesses include:
- Business advisors
- Italian restaurants
- Soft skills trainers
- IT support services
Don’t be the same boring business as everyone else
Many people set up a business as if they’ve been to see the careers advisor at school. I’m going to be a nurse, fireman, trainer. They see what they’re good at, and there’s a category of business which they fit into. No wonder they’re all the same – they’ve been designed to be the same as everyone else.
Does this sound familiar?
I’ve worked with lots of these boring businesses, and my first starting point is always how do we make this into something remarkable? We need something which makes people notice it, and even more importantly, talk about it, tell stories about it. I’ve written elsewhere about the marketing advantages of running a remarkable business , and Seth Godin comes back to this point time and time again in his writing about marketing and business.
Dig deep to find out why your business isn’t boring
My technique when faced with a boring business is to dig deep into what’s really going on with the business. Is there a niche of customers that the business is really good at servicing? Concentrate on that seam, establish a reputation for excellence and that reputation will spill over into everything else you do. Is there an idea you can steal from somewhere else? I recently told a café owner that I wouldn’t eat in her café – and she said she wouldn’t either! No wonder she isn’t making any money. I set her some homework to go to some great cafes and work out what makes them great – and then we can work on some ideas to steal, once we know what works somewhere else.
Have a look at your business and see what’s there under the surface, or what you can creatively swipe from other people. Make it different, make it remarkable and then you can work out how to tell people about it.
Get some help to make your business more interesting
If your business is a bit boring, then let’s work together to find the interesting parts you’ve hidden away. Let’s take them out of the cupboard, find the right niche for you, and then set the world on fire. And maybe we’ll find that if we make your business a lot more interesting and truly different to everyone else, then you’ll be able to charge a lot more money, and you’ll be having a lot more fun.