Once knew a business owner who had the me too syndrome

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Again, you are selling yourself, your personality, and the experience you give people who come into your studio. If they have a positive and pleasant experience and enjoy their time with you, there is great value in that, and they will tell their friends, their neighbors, and their families. They will talk highly of you because they enjoyed themselves, not to mention that your talent will show in the images. People are buying emotion when they purchase photography, and there isn't a lot of common sense that goes into it.

Stand Out From the Crowd

An important factor in determining what it is you do better than anyone else is to make sure someone else doesn't already make that claim. One of the basic rules of marketing is that it's better to be first in your own category than to be second in someone else's. You need to find an area that nobody has taken as their own, and then build on it.

I once knew a business owner who had the "me too" syndrome. He always waited to see what everyone else was doing and then he would do the same thing. Big mistake! Over time, customers became aware he was always copying other people's ideas, and he continued to lose business until he had no choice but to get out of the industry. If he would have focused on his uniqueness, he would still be around today!

I'm going to ask you some questions about category ownership, and I want you to think of the answers:

• What is the top computer company? Which company comes in second place?

What do you offer that makes a prospective client want to open your door instead of heading down the road to the next studio? Photograph by Christa Hoffarth.

• What is the top rental car company? Who's in second place?

• What is the top-selling copy machine? Which manufacturer is in second place?

• What is the top-selling facial tissue? Which is the next best-selling brand?

• What are the two top-selling soft drinks? Name the product in third place.

• Who is the number-one manufacturer of jeans? Which brand is in second place?

While you may have figured out that IBM, Hertz, Xerox, Kleenex, Pepsi and Coke, and Levi's hold the top spots in each respective category, you may have run into trouble recalling the names of the runners-up. Are you starting to get the idea? Nobody cares about or even remembers the guy who comes in second place. I hope you are getting those creative juices flowing and realizing what makes you special and unique to your marketplace.

Establish Program Goals and Objectives

John Wooden, the great coach for the UCLA Bruins, used to sit down before each season and write down a list of goals for himself, then for each player, and for the team.

Periodically during the season he would pull them out and reread them. No other coach in the history of college basketball had as much success as John Wooden, and it wasn't by chance.! His ability to set goals, maximize his resources, adjust his methodology as the season progressed, and follow through until the end, produced championship after championship, year after year.

Athletics teaches us a lot about setting goals and working toward them with diligence. Your business requires the same level of commitment in order to achieve your objectives. In marketing, your goals should be based on three considerations:

1. Are the goals realistic and attainable?

2. Does the program help you achieve your ultimate goals and objectives?

3. Will the results be measurable and trackable?

If you can answer yes to all three questions, then your program has the potential to be successful. It may be worth investigating your idea further.

Now, let's take another little break to hear from another of our Power Corner experts, Don MacGregor.

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