Often in business, it is the unique qualities of the business that draw in the customers, rather than the product itself; it is indeed the unique businesses that will ‘beat their competitors to the punch’. This is clearly evident when some real ‘junky’ products sell like crazy simply because they are different or unique. Take the major Royal shows held in each State in Australia, each year. A giant baseball bat, a spinning circle that constantly changes colour, a huge rabbit that twitches its ears – these products would hardly be described as ‘fantastic’ – but they are unique because of their quirkiness.
The Oxford dictionary describes ‘unique’ as something ‘of which there is only one; unequalled; having no like, equal or parallel’. This definition does not work in quite the same way for business, as there is probably never one product or service that is not also offered by a competitor. Yet many business operators want to be considered as unique or different to their competitors. So, how do you make your business stand out in the crowd and be seen as unique?
First let’s look at what many people say they do that is unique and there are probably thousands of businesses that tell you “they have the same unique qualities.”
* Great customer service
* Value for money product
* Well made/manufactured product
* Speedy service and delivery
* Caring approach
* Exemplary customer service
Mmmmm – how can these qualities be unique when so many businesses do the same thing?
Now, let’s consider another definition of ‘Unique’ – it is also known as ‘surrealism’ and it generally means ‘putting two or more unrelated objects together in an unrelated manner’. Salvador Dali was one well known artist who excelled at this. You most likely have seen his art work where clock faces are melting, or giraffe’s necks are in flames or a person is on an operating table with an umbrella beside them. These images are most definitely unique and different to any other paintings – after all, who would think of such weird things!
As a business owner, your task is to capture this unique concept in your own business. Let me give you an example of a truly unique business. When you take your dog to be groomed you expect it to be well looked after, not injured in any way, to be cared for in a kindly (if not loving) manner and to come back to you looking tons better than when you left it.
Now most dog groomers would tell you they do this and in fact, do deliver what they say and what you want. So what could they do to be unique and grab the attention of even more prospective clients?
There is a dog grooming salon in Melbourne that has some pretty exceptional things happening. First of all, they regularly attend Pet Fairs and are constantly seen by both their competitors, suppliers and pet lovers. They have developed their brand well and often appears in newspaper articles – they is seen as an expert.
OK – that is not what makes them unique though, as many business owners do the same thing.
But how many dog groomers do you know who provide an electronic massage chair for owners who may be waiting to pick their dog up (are you likely to complain if the groomers are running a little late?)
As most dog owners think of their dog as their ‘special baby’ they are often concerned about how their loved one is handling strangers grooming them. So the Dog groomers installed a closed circuit TV screen so that you can be watching your dog during the grooming process – bet you don’t give your dog as much attention and care as the groomer is now doing!
And if you really want to pamper your dog, you can get a mud pack session for him (all the rage in Japan). Each dog owner gets a gift when they regularly bring their dog for a grooming session. And if you just want to be crazy, your dog can have sections of their hair spray painted to match your outfit when you are out walking him!
Is it any wonder that dogs are just begging their owners to take them to this dog grooming salon? Boy – is this salon unique! Is your business truly unique? Put on your thinking cap and see what else you can offer that your clients may appreciate and that your competitors don’t offer.