My Business in a Parking Space

Identify the Markings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        About a week ago, I found myself in the parking lot of one of the main supermarkets.  I needed a few groceries and just wanted to dash in and out with minimal fuss.  I decided to park my car next to a Taxi.  Normally I will use the car park markings as my guide as I do not like to obstruct another person’s parking space.  But this time in my haste I decided to use the Taxi next to my car as my parking guide.  I ensured my car was parked parallel to the Taxi.  Our front was well aligned with each other, so was our mirrors and everything else.  Feeling satisfied I got out of the car and burst out laughing.                                

 

Errors all in a Row

Why was I laughing so much in a parking lot all by myself?  I bet a few people who saw me thought it was a bit early in the day to be that high! Anyway I discovered that the Taxi was overlapping the parking space behind it by a large margin, leaving an even larger margin away from the front markings. I also realised that 5 other drivers (that includes me!) had parked their cars exactly the same way. The car on the other side of the taxi must have used the taxi as a guide and the next car and the next car… What a sight it was!

Upgrade My Parking Skills

As I walked into the supermarket, I thought to myself – this is the way a lot of us operate in life and in business.  We use others as a guide as to how things should be done.  Even though sometimes the competitor/person might have got it wrong from the start, we still follow suit  – consciously or unconsciously.  I know competitor analysis has its place but as long as we continue to conform to the norm, results will always be average. 

Being a pacesetter takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  If I had taken time to use the car park markings as I normally do, then how and where the Taxi was parked will make no difference to me.  I would have done my own thing, my own way and probably get different results. This same rule applies in business and life, where I choose to park my career or business e.g. market my products or services, determine my clients, choose a career should be based on MY OWN OBJECTIVES AND GOALS. 

Individual Race and Individual Goals

We all set out with business/life goals but sometimes we get side-tracked by what others are doing and before we know it, we get carried away with the norm – we become one of them!

There is a saying in Yoruba – a Nigerian language that states “you can’t work by looking at someone else’s watch”.   When money stops being the motivation for what we do, something more precious sets in – the need to be different and make an impact. 

Whatever type of business/profession you engage in – be it an IT consultant, fashion designer, childcare provider, nail technician, car dealer, estate agent etc – can you dare Stand Up and Be Different?

My motto for now is – Identify my unique selling point, know my market, let my service stand out and BE DIFFERENT!

Photos courtesy of sxc.hu – Freyda, Lusi & Matox

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