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“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

In a competitive world you must stand for something and stand out.You must, as Steve Martin said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Most small businesses have a difficult enough time figuring out what to sell. They often become a “wandering generality” of their business type. They by default become “A jack of all trades and master of none”. To the general public they are second citizens to the predictable although not perfect national brand experiences whether carpet cleaner, lawn care operator, security alarm system, garden center, restaurant, etc. Don’t you also find it to be  easier, faster, and “safer” to choose the national brand over the mom & pop motel? One of the reasons the general pull of national brands is true is that the better brands re-invent themselves the way Holiday Inn has been doing.

How do you rise to the top in the customers mind?”

Steve Martin achieved outrageous success by developing a unique method to his apparent madness, which led to his becoming “so good that the entertainment world couldn’t ignore him”. And, as they say, the rest is history.

The same wisdom applies to steady growth, taking a step to the elusive “next level”, or catapulting to even higher levels.

The Steve Martin Method1. Intellectualize. Paying your dues is not enough. Hard work alone is overrated according to Martin. First understand, then innovate so well that you’re outstanding – so good they can’t ignore you.

2. Don’t Wander. Martin says diligence goes beyond working hard over time. If you don’t saturate your life in a single quest, you’ll dilute your focus to a point where becoming outstanding becomes out of reach.

Click HERE to see Steve’s “Wild and Crazy Guy” routine from Saturday Night Live?

Click HERE for a clip of Steve with his famous arrow through his head as he appeared on the Muppet Show?

Are you doing what you must to be “so good that consumers in your market area can’t ignore you?

How do you avoid the distractions presented to yourself and your associates so you an focus?

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5 Responses

  1. This goes along with what I have been saying for many years. We knew service, product, and price are the cornerstones. We no longer can be known for two things. The consumer just does not have enough time to mess with two thoughts. Companies need to be known and remembered for one thing. In general the thought has been you had better be number one or two in your customer’s eye. Perhaps it is time to be number one.

    The big question that has been asked and only you as the leader of the company can answer – what am I number one in and are their enough customers to support this activity. If you are number one and you have enough customers to support the business endeavor then the question becomes how I stay number one in my customer’s eyes.

  2. Edward, I like what you say about “are there enough customers to support this activity.” I’ve been thinking about the same things, and writing about it. The gardening business has changed (like most other businesses) and if your goal doesn’t match what a the customers want, then you’re out of luck, even if you’re #1. Not enough people remember that side of the equation.

  3. I have reread this post a few days later a different thought comes to mind. I do not think in our customers eyes we should be known or classified by what we sell but what benefit we provide them.

    The 25 super stars in George Walins book – almost everything they sell is sold by someone else but they have become superstars because of the perception they have created in their customers eyes.

    Perhaps that is what you are asking Sid. What can we as business owners do to become super stars?

  4. Sid,
    Bravo on this article and have loved the comments thus far! My contribution to the discussion though I am but only a very beginner in this “Great at one thing” thing: It takes some courage. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far. Owning one thing, being great at one thing, being known and FAMOUS for one thing also means admitting that you don’t do a lot of other things very well. That requires a discipline (and a laser focus) to say “No” often when there is a great temptation to think “I can do that too.”

  5. You’ve got it Jonn. And then comes DOING only ONE THING! The secret is that if you’re DOING that one thing and actively becoming famous for it there is no distraction from all the other things you could be doing. Nike!

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