Way too late last night, I was surfing my 500 channels for something original and gratefully found the classic 1955 sitcom series “The Honeymooners.” If you’re not familiar, it stars the still iconic Ralph, a frustrated loud mouth bus driver always looking for the next get rich quick scheme ‘out there’ to make him wealthy even though pretty much every one of them turns out to be worthless. 61 years later, things changed but that American dream hasn’t. The show still resonates and makes money in syndication because Ralph’s originality remains transcendent.
So when a business asks how to stand out if there’s ‘nothing new under the sun,’ I say look under a different sun. New needed ideas, insights, approaches, products, personalities, services and promises pop up and profit in businesses all the time. Your business depends on it. But you can’t see what’s original ‘out there’ before you know what’s makes YOU original.
If you’re driven by the compulsion and courage to see and run to and not away from what makes you original, you have what’s likely your best if not only chance be a brand; one-of-a kind rather than one of a mass.
I like this story of my client who founded what became a legendary handbag business in just its first three years. The company is Isabella Fiore.
The founder, Jennifer went to gemology school, loved handbags had a world of new ideas in her head and some understandable terror about her chances because she said, she was too “unpredictable” for a business that historically produced the same beautiful, slightly tweaked conservative bags each season. We discovered it was her “unpredictability” she had to go for.
And when she walked into her first buyer’s show with her first line designed with different bright colors, gorgeous Italian “predictably unpredictable” bags nobody predicted she’d be the one CNN would be rushing to first. And the big stores started buying. Each season customers waited for and bought a totally different collection with predictable luxury quality, unparalleled attention to fun detail and prints with everything jewels from fur fringes to monkey prints. The reason to carry a handbag became more than just to lug your stuff around.
When she brought in a partner and they didn’t see eye to she painfully walked away, the business ended up disappearing until another company bought for the brand name but the products and business are not at all the same. My client and I worked together again when she started her second successful handbag business. An original.
We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel and you probably won’t be the next unicorn. It’s more than settling on a tagline. You’re producing a sincere manifestation of your originality. And when you know what that is – the path to the next steps becomes more illuminated. And so can you.
You won’t have blinders on but you won’t be focusing on your competition either because you’ll know you don’t have any. And that there’s no express bus elevator to your success.
Take the steps.
Thank you for reading.