Watching a rerun of Shark Tank last night, I squirmed uncomfortably as an aspiring entrepreneur watched his chances at funding slowly fade out of sight. His pitch was admirable but fundamentally and financially flawed, and the five investors knew they could not align with his vision.
Then, Daymond John, one of the celebrity business personalities, imparted the following bit of wisdom.
In order to make a difference, you must first make it, then master it, then you can make it matter.
His words resonated with me, particularly within the framework of so many marketing agencies out there today. How many companies can provide world class service for every single claim that they make? Or how many are simply trying to lay claim to expertise that they simply do not possess yet?
Somewhere along the line, we became a world of aspiring Walmarts. We have enough mega-chains and all-in-one destinations. What we need now are niche, skilled, and competent organizations that enrich the lives of people and businesses. That is truly what will set any given institution apart.
Everyone you compete with is passionate about their product. And odds are, they work night and day to sell it. They hustle. Because that is what the business world dictates. But passion and hustle don’t do anything to differentiate you. It’s similar to saying you pride yourself on great customer service. Shouldn’t every company be willing and able to make that claim?
Price isn’t necessarily the ultimate difference-maker, either. Being in the thick part of the price curve, in relation to the competition, doesn’t make you more appealing. It makes you appear vanilla. And while some companies have found success being on extreme ends of that curve – like the $100 Philly cheese steak – others have been abject failures, such as the “World’s Cheapest Car.”
So price, passion and work ethic are not always enough to set you apart. What about pain? What problems is your organization most qualified to remedy? What discipline have you committed to mastering?
Be great at what you choose to do, and what services you decide to offer. The world is in dire need of craftsmanship.