Many people have approached me over the years and have asked for some advice on their business. “What am I doing wrong?” they often ask. In their opinion, their pricing is competitive, and their stock is at the right level and of the right type. Their employees are pleasant and efficient, yet their business seems to be floundering.

My typical response is that their business is adequate. It is satisfactory. There is nothing wrong, as such, just not enough right. There is a huge difference between adequate and superior.

You need that unique difference with your business that makes people take notice. You need to have your clients wanting to come back. You want them talking about your business over the water cooler.

People do not talk about mediocrity. They talk about excellence.

So what can you do to make your business superior? It is the combination of thousands of drops of water that make up a glass of water, and so it is the same with your business. You need to get every little thing right.

Look at your unique selling benefits and improve them. What can you do that others don’t? How can you make every visit special—an experience?

I had one acquaintance who opened a new coffee shop. Everything was adequate, but he wasn’t getting many sales. His solution to lift himself above the other coffee shops in the area? He dedicated three hours every Monday morning to make coffees and deliver them to the surrounding businesses at no charge. He would take the opportunity to introduce himself and talk to the people he gave a coffee to. He was working on the reciprocity theory, but more importantly, he added a relationship to the coffee experience. This was unique. He tripled coffee sales within a month!

So don’t just be adequate. Be surprising, amazing, unique, eccentric, passionate, bold, enthusiastic—absolutely anything but adequate.

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