These Guys Should Be

Every time I talk to those guys I feel like I need a shower,” whispers a friend last week.

Lunchtime, and he’d just managed to shoo the guys from the next building out of his office, after twenty excruciating minutes. “He talked on and on and I still have no idea and don’t care.” What’s my friend’s problem with the owners next door?

I guess the real estate thing didn’t work out. They don’t even have a sign anymore. This week it’s, ‘We’re doing an Internet thing now. And we do dry cleaning pickup. And we’re doing some custom framing, too.’ I almost asked, house framing or pictures?, but then I was afraid he’d answer. If he stayed one more minute I know he would have told me there’s a free set of Ginsu knives with every order.”

Can you hang a sign?

I’ve heard about them before but I don’t know any details. The thing that struck me is, how could they have a sign up? If they don’t have a focused Vision of what they do, what would they tell their designer to put on the sign?

You may have heard advice about having a different business card for each business you are involved in, or each situation you run into. Maybe these guys have heard it, too. They just come to talk to my friend, not to sell, but perhaps they have their pockets coded for sales situations (left front is real estate, right is Internet-thing, back left is dry cleaning, back right is framing…).

Three little words:

This is BAD.

You have lots of interests. You’re a Renaissance person extraordinaire. Great. You can’t do it all for a living.

Nope, sorry. You can’t.

How did my friend open that conversation? “Every time I talk to those guys I feel like I need a shower.” They make him feel slimy. They’re fly-by-night. They’re experts in nothing at all. If I gave them real-estate-thing dollars two months ago, and they’re picking up dry cleaning today, what happened to my dough? If I give them framing money today, but they’re feeling more like dry-cleaning-drivers, how high will the quality of their work for me be? Who would ever buy anything from these guys? Please, believe me: You can’t do it all for a living.

If you can’t fit it on a sign, forget it. You don’t have to have a sign (if you work from home you probably won’t, but if you’re not at home for heaven’s sake do get one designed now! Don’t hide your business from the world).

You have to get yourself out of the coded-pockets thinking, if you ever want to be taken seriously. One sign. One business card. ONE business.

No more commitment phobia

It’s time to walk down the aisle. Just you, and that special business. The one that you want to shout to the world: “I’m ready to spend more than just the next couple of weeks with this one!” You’ve flirted, you’ve courted, you’ve considered others, but you and I know that you’ve found The One, because you took these steps:

Find your thrill. Research, then focus like a laser. You’ve looked into it thoroughly. Maybe you’ve had help with this stage. (Need help?) You’ve found a real Pain Point that real people have, and that they have the money to fix. You provide their Ideal Solution.

Yes, knowing your Ideal Customer this well takes research. Do it before you throw your time and money out the window! If your business description involves the word “thing” (“real estate thing,” “Internet thing”), you are not done. Get outside Perspective.

Know what you love so well that no one else knows as much as you, within your target market. If you’re replaceable, you’ll be replaced sooner or later. Be the go-to expert.

Love what you do so much that you couldn’t possibly switch to some different business tomorrow if skies are cloudy. When you are committed, you’ll work it out. You’ll find a creative way to bring what you know and love (that Ideal Solution) to your Ideal Customer, because love (of your work) means doing whatever it takes. You have to be your number one brand Propheteer. Nobody should sing the praises of your business in quite the devoted tones that you do.

Haven’t taken those steps yet?

Are you still clinging to your commitment phobia? The aisle’s short and sweet, and there’s far more business on the other end. Take one little step at a time and your business will make more money:

I will find my thrill.

I will know what I love, and become The expert at it.

I do love what I do.

That didn’t hurt at all. You’re committed now, or re-committed if you’re an established business owner who’s gotten a little off track. I’ll see you around as your business grows, and I’ll be sure to throw some rice.

What would your sign say? Are you committed?

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson