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The Most Mediocre Lover in the World - Victor Cheng - New Orleans Growth Summit

“I’m the most mediocre lover in the world!”   Is that something you would like to announce? In a struggling economy the first thing that disappears is the middle. If your business is mediocre you are going to be challenged. In a boom economy you can be average and still be successful, however now you’re an endangered species. 
Victor Cheng, The Recession Proof Business author’s point is don’t tell the world if you are mediocre. You need to re-invent yourself and solve a problem that is unique or find the portion of your industry that is increasing demand and do that better than anyone. Solve a problem that gets worse in a depression or in a recession.
1973 Fred Smith started Federal Express at the height of the oil crisis, and jet fuel at sky high levels. In the late 1960’s, Fred while a student at Yale University hanging out at the local commuter airport in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a private pilot and began to notice a lot of small airplanes were flying in and out without passengers. Hanging out at the local pub he discovered that these pilots were flying charter flights for IBM and Xerox to fly spare parts to their customers. Big companies had laid off their employees and they still needed the work to get done, so they had purchased computer technology from IBM and Xerox to fill the gaps. Of course technology breaks down. IBM and Xerox had promised that if they broke down they would absolutely, positively fix the equipment by the next day.   If you’re an astute observer of advertising you probably recognize that statement from Fed Ex. [As Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story!]
Fred Smith solved a problem that got worse in a recession – the need for rapid delivery of spare computer parts necessary to run Fortune 500 companies technology for workers they had laid off. 
If you’re a small business you have a unique advantage over your large and even midsized competitors. The key to survival is speed. You need to pick up the pace and change faster than the economy and your industry.  The rules of the game have changed, yet if you are in tune with the market and recognize the problems you need to solve you can be the first and the best to get their first. One of the recommended strategies we expect our Gazelle customers to follow is customer feedback. Today more than ever you need to be in contact with your customers finding out what’s going on, what they are doing, what they are buying,  still doing and most importantly what is driving their behavior. In fact this should be one of your leading indicators you are watching each week. If you’re not doing the Rockefeller Habits principles for meeting rhythms, getting feedback from your employees and customers on a weekly basis plus requiring each of your executive team members to contact a minimum of two customers a week, you need to implement this immediately.
Small businesses can react faster and meet the growing needs of your customer and prospect base at light speed compared to bigger competitors. 
Victor Cheng’s Competition Proof concept is – Think: “Big Fish, Little Pond”
·         Is your business unique enough that it’s brain-dead, blatantly obvious why a customer would buy from you versus any of your competitors?
·         If your business IS unique enough and the customers you do reach “get it” then you have a market reach issue that you need to fix.
·         If your business is NOT unique enough you have a lack of uniqueness problem that makes you vulnerable to competition. Consider extreme focus on your most profitable, most unique, most defensible, highest barrier to entry, customer segment, product line, or service line.

Leading indicators are one of the most vital metrics you need to have in place in your business. We’ll discuss leading and lagging indicators in our next blog.

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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.   We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.