The Only Thing To Fear Is Fear Itself

by Josh Amidon

We all have fears – I, for example, am terrified of Garden Gnomes. Don’t laugh, it’s a real thing (Gnomophobia). I’m convinced it’s just a matter of time till they all team up and plot to take over humankind. In all seriousness, fear is the most basic of human elements and plays a major role in business success and failure.

I spend a great deal of time trying to help business owners understand that one of the most important marketing strategies they must embrace is finding a way to stand out from the crowd. Because I believe so strongly in this, I can tell you one of the single greatest fears that many business owners have is being different than everyone else in their industry.

I’m guessing it goes back to school where being different made pretty much everyone scared as hell, but I’m a marketer and not a therapist – so figure your own stuff out. I find that this goes well beyond simply copying what others in the industry do, it’s a real fear of doing anything that might appear odd. I can tell you right now this fear and knowing that others in your industry share it, is the single greatest small business marketing opportunity at your disposal.

Here’s an exercise I would like you to tackle. Go to the web site of your four biggest competitors, copy their “about us” sections and paste each on a document. Now add the same from your own web site. Lastly, black out any identifying features and pass this page around the office or to anyone familiar with your industry.

The object of this little game is to see if anyone can identify any of the companies listed, including your own. My experience when I’ve done this is that many business owners struggle even identifying the entry from their own company, but what is usually painfully obvious is that each of the companies is saying essentially the Same. Exact. Thing.

If the world of potential customers can’t tell you apart from your competitors, they will be forced to use price as their only guide.

You must get over the fear of being different and find a way to demonstrate that you serve a very narrow target niche, package your services in unique ways, provide an over the top experience, own a certain way of doing things, do something that someone wants like no one ever thoughts of – and then, proudly declare this difference in every fiber of your communication.

Two things to take away from this article:

  1. Let your freak flag fly
  2. Garden Gnomes are evil