Revisiting being Remarkable

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What does it take to be remarkable?

Remarkable:  Worthy of being remarked or noticed; noticeable; conspicuous; hence, uncommon; extraordinary.

At a BANG! meeting last week, we briefly got on the topic of the need as a business owner to be remarkable.

I’ve been running across this concept a lot lately and it sounds really intimidating.  Who am I, as a regular joe that likes college basketball, enjoys photography, is a business owner and a family guy – who am I to be Remarkable?

I don’t disagree with the theory – in a sea of 3,000 or more advertising impressions everyday, it’s critical that you stand out in some way, otherwise you will be buried.  If not by your competition, then just by the sheer volume of what’s out there.

Seth Godin is probably the biggest drumbeat out there for the need, the cause to be remarkable.  His post from last week:  The long slide to gone does a great job of illustrating what’s likely to happen when you’re not focused on being remarkable:

This place, just about every place, has a shot at greatness, at becoming a destination, a place with profits and happiness and growth. Along the way, it’s easy to start compromising your marketing, because it seems like in that moment, it’s expedient.

When this starts happening, the answer is not to do it more. Instead, it’s worth a full stop. Is this what you set out to do? Is compromising everything going to get you to a place that was worth the journey? Wouldn’t it be smarter to just stop selling trains and do something else (lottery tickets, even) but do it really really well.

The end result, and his point is that once you start cutting corners and looking like everyone else, you’ve made yourself a commodity and ultimately there’s no profit in a commodity. 

It’s a tough way to make a living.

What does it take to be remarkable?

Although I still think the idea is intimidating and difficult, when you consider the alternative there’s really no reason not to make that a goal.

Here’s a couple of thoughts on how you can make progress on this:

  1. Make a plan and make progress over time.  The goal is to be remarkable, that doesn’t mean that if you’re not currently remarkable that it has to all change tomorrow.  Just the act of changing your thinking will start changing your results and your outcomes.
  2. Remarkable (see definition above) means worthy of notice or being remarked.  An easy trap to fall into is thinking that you have to be absolute world class.  Really you are only talking about a goal of RELATIVE world class – for your world.  Your world might be a neighborhood, part of the city, one thin little slice of your industry or specialty. 
  3. You can be remarkable, or be noticed because you have the best customer service even if your product is very similar to others.  You can be remarkable because your customers enjoy your great attitude, charm or wit (relative to your world).

Although I know and understand that it’s important, I used to struggle with the idea of focusing on a niche.  I kept coming back to the idea that defining the niche was like making a door smaller and smaller so only your focused, target market can get in.

A much better analogy is that by building a niche, a speciality, by being remarkable in some way, you are building a foundation for the rest of your business.  You can always branch out from your foundation, but as long as you have that anchor to fall back on, the risk isn’t as scary.

How could you become remarkable?  What do your customers / clients notice about you?  What makes you or your business unusual, uncommon…special?  I’d love to hear about it here.

Shawn Kinkade  www.aspirekc.com

4 thoughts on “Revisiting being Remarkable”

  1. Tobin Truog says:

    Shawn,

    Wow…it’s great to see you getting your Godin on! The thing about being remarkable is that it is ALWAYS the more difficult route. There are always easier choices in front of you.

    At law school my wife always heard the quote that for any challenge there is an answer that is simple, well-considered, easy to understand, brilliant, and wrong.

    The other thing about Remarkable is that it is always changing. As soon as you become the best service provider in your field…someone else is going to try to do the same.

    THAT is why you have to take the stuff about being the best in your “world” and relentlessly QUIT the stuff that isn’t helping you do that.

    I think that the hardest step for a lot of business owners is to stop the insanity for a moment and to put together a real live plan for their company.

    Easy to say yes to.

    Harder to sit there and have someone tear down what you have built up.

    Go for it!

  2. Toby,

    Thanks for the comments – I agree that it’s not easy, but not pursuing something that you’re excited about is pretty…sad for lack of a better word.

    Shawn

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