If you are going to do Business, you really need to do Business Unusual.
Not just today, but everyday, and not just for the people or companies that you think would appreciate it or ‘get it’.
Doing things differently from others is the only way you can guarantee that you will ‘stand out’ (which is really what ‘OutStanding’ is all about) in the ‘New Normal’ we will face soon.
In this day and age, being different is the key factor. It is the factor that sets you apart from your competition.
I enjoy getting away into the country, to get away from the hectic pace of London and airports and meetings and training and phone calls and more meetings…etc (yawn) to just chill out, so my place in the Ashdown Forest (Winnie the Pooh country!) is my retreat. With a mountain of paperwork and a large pot of coffee I work my way through a weekend. Occasionally I do nothing but read books or the newspapers. Tom and his wife May keep an eye on the property when no one is there. Tom spends most of his time walking around the grounds and the forest with a 12 bore shotgun looking for anything he can shoot for May to cook for dinner. Having seen him miss quite a few I think it is one of the reasons I rarely go out walking in the forest when down there!
A few weeks ago I made a decision that shocked everyone…I was going out on the Saturday afternoon.
I walked through the forest and said hello to a few people walking their dogs, navigated a few herds of sheep who stand next to the narrow roads and act like live speed cameras, making drivers slow down in case they suicidally jump in front of the cars, and the steady stream of horse riders who were travelling in groups through the forest.
Eventually, after 45 minutes, I reached the main entrance to the forest and the main road that leads into Tunbridge Wells. There was a little village nearby which and when I walked through it, I was amazed to find it now had 12 hairdressers/ barbers. TWELVE!
Who in the planning office thought THAT was a good idea. Each one I walked past had 1 customer inside either having their hair cut or waiting. I was looking for one particular hardressers. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive…but the best.
I found it on the road leading off of the high street.
As I walked in I saw three men cutting hair and 8 people waiting.
The owner, one of the men cutting hair, said Hello and apologised for the queue and made me feel welcome, told me to help myself to the coffee machine, read a newspaper or watch TV. I would be waiting 15min.
30min later, having got my hair trimmed, I paid him £15, which was a lot less than the £55 in London, and left knowing I would be back…..
I walked back past the other hairdressers, most of them empty now, some charging £22 per haircut, with no facilities, no welcome, no atmosphere, no laughter, no banter, no enjoyment….and no idea where they were going wrong. Their opening times were 9 to 5.30 Monday to Saturday, closed Wednesday afternoon.
That barbers I used is open from 730 am (for people on their way to work) and closes at 7pm at night (for people on their way home from work). They are open every day and are busy all day. They open for four hours on Sunday for people who cant make it during the week.
They do Business Unusual….they do everything that the others don’t do.