Monday, 2 August 2010
Contrarian or Follower?
To follow the competition is dull.
In sledging, the view for the lead dog is much better than the view for the dogs at the back.
Why would you want to be a follower? The advantage of being a follower is that you do what else every one else does. You follow. It seems to be the safe place to be. But you won’t get noticed or remembered.
In business you need to get noticed otherwise why should people buy from you.So could you take a contrarian view which would get you noticed. I do not mean some cheap gimmick.
At its extreme you should look at what the majority are doing and do the reverse. When they zig… you zag.
If they do mailshots… you look for face-to-face meetings.
If they sell on price… you sell on quality.
One reason you might want to do this is because the popular approach probably isn’t working. If everyone is doing it then it (whatever it is) is probably pretty ineffective by now.
For instance, nearly everyone does adverts yet everyone knows they don’t work very well.
For instance, nearly everyone reduces prices in a recession yet everyone knows this is a form of suicide.
For instance, nearly everyone does ‘networking’ yet loads of people don’t see any business benefit.
For instance, nearly all accountants still charge by hourly rates yet fixed price clients are more loyal.
Can one million flies be wrong about one lump of sh*t. The answer is “yes!”.
So, for your business, what is the standard, average, dull, boring, follow-the-competition way of doing things?
Does it have to be this way?
Wouldn’t it be more fun to shake things up a bit and cause a bit of a stir at the same time. Give stuff away. Promote a randomly disconnected event. Challenge the status quo (the current models and theories can be considered to be out of date / inappropriate / irrelevant / too expensive / too cheap). Should you and your potential clients take the normal way as being good, right, or even ‘good enough’? (What does good enough mean? A bit more than OK? Is that what you want?)
End of rant.
But… Pushing the envelope can change everything for everyone.
A superstore for music, a pitch black restaurant where the waiting staff are blind, a web design that uses words only, a lemon squeezer that is aesthetically remarkable, a double glazing salesman that refuses to ask for the business… .
Just don’t be complacent.