Last week I talked about Odwalla, Geico and Vistaprint and how they set themselves apart in their respective industries and made it big. Continuing are four more inspirational stories from other businesses that have done the same.
1. Toy House: Advertising curiosity. In Jackson, Miss., a city hit hard by the economy, Toy House owner Phil Wrzesinski was struggling to compete against local big box competitors. Then he had an idea. In August 2008, he began running radio ads that had local DJs wondering what was in the men’s bathroom of the store. Droves of customers started coming in to see what was in the men’s bathroom. The product was a nightlight that projects stars on to the ceiling and walls of a darkened room.
The result? Despite the down economy, Toy House has seen a steady increase in both loyalty and sales ever since. Clever advertising can peak interest, create buzz, and get people talking. Show your company has an edge. It will set you apart from your competitors.
2. Dillard’s Septic Service: Doing the dirty work (literally). James Dillard, owner of Dillard’s Septic Service, Annapolis, Md., runs a business most others might consider “beneath” them. Yet Dillard earns a six-figure income doing what many of us would call mundane, boring or downright disgusting. In fact, in the 2009 Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans list, many less-than-glamorous fields and products, including discount tires, roofing, salsa, lumber and tequila have produced extraordinary income.
All of these business owners found their niche and, through it, their differentiation. Think about a product or service you can offer that no one else will. Products or services others are afraid to touch can mean big opportunities for you.