These ideas are simple ways to make your business stand out from the competition
You may have a lot of competition, depending on where your business is located. We are located in the Northeast and I can think of five major companies that also serve the same area. As you know, there are only so many customers. And you can only go so low in price. So how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
I have asked myself this question many times and that question led me to the book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin. As you may remember from my other book reviews (read those here and here), I really love short books, and the Purple Cow is only 135 pages. But it also gave me a lot of food for thought, which is why this is such a great business book.
The first point that grabbed my attention was when he told us to “differentiate between your customers and find the group that’s most profitable.” He suggests marketing to just that group as opposed to all of your customers as a whole.
For A Royal Flush, special events bring in the most money. In 2015, almost 60 percent of our sales were special events. So that is whom I gear most of my marketing dollars and effort toward. The bulk of our Google dollars are spent referencing event toilets and similar keywords. Most of my Twitter and Facebook posts are about special events. I don’t completely ignore construction or municipalities in advertising, but it doesn’t get anywhere near as much attention as special events do.
The second idea that I really loved was about being honest with your customers. Seth used the example of the French subsidiary of McDonald’s publishing a report that urged the French to not visit fast food outlets (like McDonald’s) more than once a week. Everyone’s first thought is that is a terrible idea and it will be really bad for business. But people love honesty and it is important for your business to be credible. This allows for long-term growth instead of being a flash in the pan.
I have used this thought process ever since. For example, when a bride calls in I tell her if she can use a smaller restroom trailer to save money. Yes, I want to rent the larger, more expensive trailer, but I was a bride once and I realize that budgets can be tight. Sometimes I have to tell her that a competitor is overselling her. This can go either way. She may trust me, or she may think I am a liar. But being honest is important to me and I plan to stick with it.
I am also very honest with customers about the quality of the equipment. A school called in a couple weeks ago and told me they needed a restroom trailer. I was almost completely sold out that week and the one trailer I had left in our inventory was really rough-looking. I told the customer all of that up front because if I hadn’t, I would have faced an angry call after we delivered it, and I probably would have had to refund some money. He still took the trailer, so being honest worked in my favor that time.
None of these thoughts are groundbreaking or rocket science, but they make sense and that is always good business. It’s just like your mother always told you, “Honesty is the best policy.”
About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.