Last year I wrote an article titled “The Rules of Acquisition”.. Below I have re-posted that article to refresh the memory of those who have read it, and to introduce it to those who have not because next week I will be adding additional rules.
The Rules of Acquisition
Anyone who is a Star Trek fan is probably aware that the race the Ferengi are ruled by business, they come from a world that has created an entire society completely wrapped around profit and business and to guide every Ferengi in their life-long pursuit of obtaining profit they created the “Rules of Acquisition” a book of 285 rules which cover just about every situation that you can think of. Some examples of these rules are:
Once you have their money, you never give it back
Opportunity plus instinct equals profit
Nothing is more important than your health, except for your money
The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife
Free advice is seldom cheap
No good deed ever goes unpunished
You are probably asking yourself why I am telling you about a make believe extraterrestrial life and their make believe Rules of Acquisition. Because I have decided that, while the Ferengi and their rules are make believe, all of us in business could use our own Rules of Acquisition; so I have decided to write my own. Now I think 285 rules are a bit much so I will just start with a few and I may add on to them as time goes by. Continue reading →
I have been in business and a serial entrepreneur since 1988 officially, unofficially I started in 1979 moving lawns, pulling weeds, and washing cars… So suffice to say I’ve been at it for a while. Even so it ceases to amaze me how very little some small business men and women actually know about business. One of the biggest things that frosts my hide is the lack of understanding of what is needed for marketing. I teach both graduate and post graduate marketing classes; from intro marketing to advanced marketing theories and there is one thing I do in all of those classes; I ask a very simple question. “When creating a marketing plan, what is the first thing you need?” I get a myriad of answers, I get things like:
A couple of years ago I wrote the following article about whether or not the Internet has changed the Fundamentals of Marketing, and since then I have read many articles relating to this topic and I have had many conversations with both professional colleagues and students about whether these fundamentals still apply and whether the Internet needs its own set of Fundamentals. I recently found a site touting the 10 fundamentals of online marketing and while the information was sound, much of it was very familiar in the sense it could be found in one way or another in the Fundamentals of Marketing and the rest were not really what I would consider fundamentals but more basic marketing common sense. I encourage you to click on the link above and read them, and then read on what I have written and you decide. Continue reading →
One of the things I love about being in the marketing industry is the incessant stream of creativity and the ability of being able to experience the unique perspectives of various businesses. I find it amazing when two identical businesses can put different spins on the same exact product. You have all heard the saying that there is no need to reinvent the wheel in business but I am not so sure I agree. Every business is different and regardless of whether you are selling a product or service that other businesses are also selling you need to create a reason for people to do business with you. You have to position yourself so that you stand apart from the competition. You have to come up with something that makes you unique from the rest. This is known as “Unique Selling Proposition” referred to as USP, and this is not something new, USP has been around for years.
The goal of USP is to create a benefit for your target customer that is different than the competitions, even though the actual product may be the same. For many years Burger King told their customers that “You can have it your way”, this was their USP. While there may have been dozens of hamburger joints in any particular city or town you could only have it your way at Burger King. That set them apart, made them unique from the competition. Dominoes Pizza guaranteed delivery “Under 30 minutes or it’s free”, FedEx “On time, every time or it’s free”. These companies all made themselves different from the competition, even though the product might be the same, they added something to the mix, to make them standout, to make them different, using USP they created a specific type of image in the minds of their customers and potential customers, known as positioning, one of the Fundamentals of Marketing.
Positioning doesn’t just apply to larger companies; it applies to all businesses, large, medium, and small alike. The fundamentals don’t change based on the size of a business, they are just as important and small businesses would do well to familiarize themselves with the various fundamentals and how they apply. Regardless of whether you are a fortune 500 company trading on NASDAQ or just a small business on Main Street, you need a USP and you need to position yourself in the minds of your target customers.