The path to success isn’t always easy. We can define success in so many ways, but recently I heard the following definition at an E-women Network Women’s Success Imperative meeting from the group’s founder and CEO, Sandra Yancey.
“There is a very fine line with success,” she said. “You have to find a place where you can fit in and stand out.” It’s so true, isn’t it? We all need to figure out how to fit in when we are promoting our respective fields and then learn how to make ourselves stand out. Business owners, in what ways are you unique? What advantage do you have over your competitors? Ask yourself these questions and re-evaluate your strategies.
At many of the business-group meetings I attend, we are asked to go around the room and introduce ourselves. Many people talk about how their business gives great customer service and that they add a personal touch to every transaction. That is all fine and good, but who doesn’t want to give great customer service? I know you’re thinking, there are many places where the employees are horrible, or you can’t get through to the right person, or there is lack of communication, etc. However, for the most part, every business owner will say that they are excellent with their own customer service. Try to think of something more specific to say such as, “After every closing I bring my customers a [special gift] and I get them a subscription to [such and such magazine].” Or maybe you could say, “I handle everything from start to finish, my customers have all the say and I execute it for them.” Something along those lines. We are all in different professions, so there are many examples, but think of creative ways you can make you and your business stand out.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world, as the saying goes, and there will always be people trying to squash you and trying to hinder your ability to stand out, but don’t let that happen.
You can’t be naive. Be aware of what is going on around you and work around it. You still have to have an edge because if you don’t then, unfortunately, someone else will. You do not have to be conniving, sneaky or ruthless. You can succeed by being honest, true to yourself, and reliable. But you still have to be proactive and get yourself out there. When I worked in the mortgage industry, I was a top producer many months in a row and all by doing things the right way by my customers. Granted, there were people in other branches who probably weren’t so honest and yes they got to the top, too, but I had the repeat business and I had the referrals. I had customers for life and you can too.
Whether you work in the corporate world or have your own business, people are just people and your success depends on your ability to network yourself efficiently and to make a name for yourself. This won’t happen overnight and it will take a lot of trial and error, but it can be done.
Know who you are and know what you offer and then find a way to make yourself stand out. Think about all of the people you recently utilized for a business deal. What made them stand out? Why did you use one real estate agent over another? Why did you pick one printer over another? You get my drift? Everybody’s definition ofsuccess is different, but in the scheme of things we all need to fit in and stand out.
Speaking of standing out, I have to give a shout out to 120, a fabulous local singing group. The group performed last Wednesday on BET’s 106 & Park, which is the channel’s highest-rated music series of all time. 120 was kind enough to invite me backstage and it was an incredible experience. They were fabulous out there on live national TV — real pros! I wish them the best of luck in all of their endeavors. You can check out more at myspace.com/120world.
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.