We will start today’s post with an old phrase that has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th century essayist, lecturer and poet. It says that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. This is taken to mean that if you do something better than all your business competition, then you can’t help but have a successful enterprise. Today, we are going to discuss a better way to catch mice, using the same old mousetrap that everyone is using, by simply cleaning up that old mousetrap and making it shine.
There certainly have been more books written on how to succeed in business than almost any other subject. While there are many different methods touted to ensure your success, today’s discussion will be about one of the simplest methods out there: observation. Unless you are successful in creating a whole new industry, which the vast majority of us will never be able to achieve, there are already many other companies out there (your competition) that have achieved some level of success. One of the first things that you must do when starting or attempting to revamp your business is to observe what other successful businesses in your industry are doing to garner their customers. That is not to say that you need to copy everything that your competition is doing, but there must be a reason that those other businesses are having success. It simply makes smart business sense to follow the example of the successful people who have gone before you.
Now, once you have examined “the mousetrap,” it is time to clean it up and make it shine. It is simply not enough to do exactly what your competition is doing, as there would be little compelling reason for clients to use your services when you are providing the same product as an already established business. You must take this knowledge that you have gained about your industry, and figure out how to add to it, increasing value for your potential clients. You need to be proactive, adding your personality, your ideas and your personal touch to your product. There needs to be a compelling reason (other than undercutting someones price) why a client should choose you over your competition. It may be your personal service; it may be an easier checkout process; it may be a higher quality product for a similar price; it may be bonus services that only you provide. The possibilities are endless, but they all lead potential clients to choose your superior product over your competition.
I am not advocating the blatant theft of ideas from other businesses, however using an already forged pathway to success simply makes good business sense. You will have to work at your business, modifying your product to stand out from a crowded field, but there is really no reason to build a better mousetrap. Unless, of course, you have a really bad mouse problem…
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