How often do you read? It is often said that the person you will be in 5 years depends on who you meet and the books you read. I agree with that and try everyday to read even if it is just a few pages. Sometimes, that reading is books, sometimes it is online articles and posts, but I try to learn something everyday.
Most of the books I read are from the public library so I take notes (if you want to know how I take notes, here is a post that explains how I read a book) My goal each week is to take one idea, one takeaway, from the books I read and apply that concept in my life and business. The number of concepts I gather from each book varies but there is always at least one. Some are just interesting quotes or passages but a few are actionable ideas.
Today I am going to discuss a takeaway idea from the book Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk. For those who have not heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, go check out his site WineLibrary.tv. I will admit that I have only watched a few of his more than 1000 episodes, I have heard a lot about him. He has a very strong personality and at times can be grating, but he has a lot of great ideas.
Takeaway #1 from Crush It
This takeaway is from page 7,
It’s never a bad time to start a business unless you’re starting a mediocre business
At first glance, this takeaway seems like common knowledge but too often you hear people talk about this time or that time being a bad time to start a business. I believe that the days of starting a business that has not USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or personality are gone. Price is no longer a factor in differentiation. You can’t compete with Wal-mart on low prices and even if you could, why would you want to race to the bottom?
Before you start a business, one of the many questions need to answer for yourself is why is my business different? If you can’t answer that, you are in trouble. Granted, you may be the only dry-cleaner within 15 miles of your location or you may offer free candy to customers but what makes you unique? Why would anyone give money to you? Not only that, but what could you do that would entice people to seek out your business?
We all believe that our businesses can be the next big thing if enough people just paid attention. But if they do, are they just going to notice another mediocre business? Think about it from your customer’s perspective and be honest. If it was not your business, would you spend your money there?
When I was planning this business (Book Worm Laser & Design), I had many ideas of how it would be different. I had big plans and bigger goals. I rarely considered the economy even though others often reminded me of the problems. I agree completely with the takeaway, that it is never a bad time to start a good business, but some times are easier than others. It is still early in the process to see if Book Worm Laser & Design is a good business, but that is something only time will tell.
Still, I started with the idea of how I could be different from others locally and on the internet. I focused on new ideas that no one (that I could find) was using or had dreamed up. Some of those plans have panned out and some have not while others are still being developed. I have built the business around products and services that customers haven’t been able to get anywhere else. I share information on this site and I do laser engraving videos while creating my own unique products, It’s A Balloon and laser cut Tennessee Fainting Goat earrings. I am trying to differentiate myself from the competition in as many ways as I can. That plan may not create a great business, but it will be unique.
If you haven’t read it yet, Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk is a great book and I highly suggest that you put it on your reading list. Remember, just one idea can change your life.
What are you doing to make your business great?