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In a crowded, oversaturated marketplace, you can be one of two things: different or invisible. Entrepreneurs in just about every industry are drowning in a sea of sameness. Their websites and marketing materials look the same and their sales pitches and explanations of services sound the same as well.
Just as there are two ways you can operate your business, there are also two types of entrepreneurs: ones who are bitter and ones who get better. Both were on display at a recent event I spoke at and serve as a great reminder to all of us.
Two audience members stuck around after the talk to speak with me. The first hunted me down to tell me he was offended by my statement that most professionals in their industries are homogenous to a fault. Perhaps my advice cut to the core and he realized he’s been “doing it wrong.” I politely explained to him that if being offended will make you think, I want you to be offended because critical thinking is good for our personal and professional growth.
The executive director of the association didn’t hire me to make this person feel better about himself or give him affirmation that all is well. She hired me to deliver information that will help her members differentiate their practices to get to the next level. The next level always involves change and discomfort.
Contrast this with the second person who stuck around to share some feedback. She wanted to let me know that she was appreciative of the fact that my message made her take a long, hard look at her approach. She asked follow up questions and inquired about hiring me to coach her.
We must all guard against becoming so emotionally fragile that we can’t entertain concepts that challenge us to rethink how we do things. Being offended often becomes a knee jerk reaction to anything that happens to rattle our comfort levels.
More than ever, entrepreneurs need thick skin and need to be receptive to new approaches.
You should thank the person who “offended” you, because in reality they’ve made you think. They’ve taught you something and it’s your job to apply the wisdom. The way your business looks will never change until you change the way you look at your business.
When you are challenged to rethink how you do what you do, view it as a blessing. The offended person’s feedback for me was a blessing, because it crystallized my point. When you’re different, you’re not for everyone. My message isn’t for everybody and yours shouldn’t be either.
Remember the old expression: “If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one.” We each must first repel the wrong prospects to attract the right ones.
It’s never too late to hit restart. If you aren’t happy with your results today, do something different tomorrow. Our results will improve when we decide to get better, not be bitter.
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