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