The blind man was holding a sign near the entrance to a beautiful park. The sign read "I am blind, please help me." An innovative businessman walked by and saw the man had a few dollar bills in his hat. He asked the blind man if he could change the sign. The man said, "Sure, if you think it will help me." The businessman took the sign and wrote a new message on it, returned it, and left.
Later that day, the businessman returned to the park and saw that the hat of the blind man was almost full of bills. The blind man recognized his voice and asked him what he had written on the sign. He replied, "I just changed the message so people could relate to it." Then he told the blind man the sign now read: "It is a beautiful fall day full of color and I cannot see."
Just like the blind man in the story, if you are not clear on your message, your business will probably suffer. If you are not clear on your message, you may not be unique enough. Being genuine in the delivery of the message is the key when you have to change it, according to writer Joshua Lee of Entrepreneur magazine.
Lee is convinced there are several areas you and your business need to take into consideration when communicating the message.
Know your message and your mission. He goes on to say "Don’t filter what you share based on how other people may view you. Not everyone is going to ‘like’ you or what you have to say. You didn’t go into business to be liked by everyone." Blending in with all of your competitors is not necessarily a good thing. The message and mission of your business need to reflect that uniqueness in order to differentiate it in the market place.
You might upset some customers or clients based upon what the business is doing or not doing. Be firm and stay the course. By standing your ground, it will confirm your position, your mission and message. It should also help the company set itself apart. Don’t be so adamant in your position, however, that you are unwilling to change if key indicators show a change is necessary. You must also be flexible enough and willing to adapt to valid changing market conditions.
Work with others and let them work for you. "Every single person you encounter needs to see who you really are. Be your true self, and your message will become real and authentic. If you are being fake and fluffy, anyone with half a brain can see directly through you. Everyone wants to find a voice they can relate to, and you can be that person everyone talks about. Once people start talking about you and your business, word spreads fast. They can either say ‘Wow, this message is so fake. This is such B.S.’ or they can say, ‘Wow this person is in my brain, they understand my pain and plight so well. This is someone I can trust" Lee says.
Be a trendsetter. In other words, Lee suggests "Be a leader, not a follower. If you want to create something unique, you can’t be flooded with what you think other people want. Create what you want. Create what you need, not what you think others want or need. That’s where true originality comes from."
Deal directly with your target audience. As part of being unique and genuine, be certain to aim for and hit your target audience. Lee says "Don’t try and reach everyone. Remember, your message isn’t for everyone to hear. Every single person on this planet doesn’t think the same. It is your job to reach your tribe of people." There can be many different messages out there. Your message needs to be clear, succinct, and targeted to your audience. Aiming in the general direction does not count. Aim for the bull’s-eye.
Like the story of the blind man, the amount of growth your business achieves is going to be determined by many factors; including the succinctness of your message, encouraging others to help you along the way, striving to obtain market momentum, and being accurate in identifying your target audience. Remember the message of the blind man, "It is a beautiful fall day full of color and I cannot see." It might help you grow your business.
Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.