When you work for yourself sometimes you fall into a comparison trap. Our ideas excite us, but when we look around it seems like lots of other people are doing the same. We begin to question our own idea and wonder to ourselves “why would anyone be interested in the same product or service from me?”
We’d like to think of ourselves as unique, but when it comes to our ideas for products and services we sometimes doubt ourselves. We look for the USP – unique selling position – but have a hard time sometimes finding it because we are too busy comparing ourselves.
Maybe this doesn’t happen to everyone. Maybe the doubts are unique to me, but based on emails and conversations I’ve had with friends and clients, I think it’s a very common problem.
But, there have been some shifts in my thinking lately.
For instance, I was pondering organ donation the other day. (Don’t ask me why, sometimes my mind just wanders.) It hit me that doctors can find compatible organs for transplant, but can never find identical matches. Our organs are unique to us.
Then I thought, DNA and fingerprints and unique, too.
If physically we are unique individuals, why wouldn’t our ideas be unique to each of us? Why wouldn’t the way we interact with each other and the world around us be unique? Why wouldn’t our business ideas for products and services be unique, or at least unique in the fact that they are coming from us?
Then I thought about accidents, car accidents to be specific. I’ve read that one of the most frustrating things is taking witness statements, because although everyone observed the same accident they all observed different details and then filtered that through their own unique world view.
Are you starting now to see that that your business (and mine) and our ideas, although similar to other people’s are unique to each of us?
This was a big breakthrough for me.
Then I thought, but what about customers? How will my customers know?
Then I remembered friends and football.
Friends, just like customers, will relate to you (and me) for who we are. We aren’t friends with everyone, we don’t even like everyone, even people other people think are great. And, not everyone likes us. We are attracted to others and others are attracted to us through a variety of mostly invisible bonds. So it will be with customers, too. It is who we are that will attract the right customer and it will be a mutually beneficial fit.
But, are their enough people to support us all?
I’d have to say, yes. And, I’ve come to this conclusion from my football model.
When a football franchise builds a stadium in a city of millions they are not trying to attract everyone. There will be lots of people who have no interest in football. There will be fans of teams form other cities. Then there will be the regular fans who may just watch the game on TV on Sunday and buy a jersey, ball cap or other team logo outerwear.
Then there is their ideal customer, the die-hard fan. The fan that is willing to brave any kind of weather to support their team in person, who will show up hours before a game for tailgate parties, who will buy team jerseys, hats, scarves, t-shirts, sweatshirts, car flags and a myriad of other products with the team logo.
These fans are their primary customers and in a city of millions, they need less than 100,000 to fill a stadium. (in a city of 10 million, 100,000 ticket holders is 1% of the population.)
In a round about way, using my fuzzy logic, I’m trying to say that…
We are unique. Our ideas are unique. And, that there are plenty of customers for everyone. (and friends and money and anything else we want that doesn’t harm another in the process.)
Go ahead. Get started. Take your first, small steps. Put your uniqueness out there in the world. We’re waiting for you.
And, if you need a little help send me an email (Sandy@TheDreamingCafe.com) or consider signing up for The Dreaming Cafe’s newsletter and get a little inspiration in your inbox every Sunday.