In my business of custom home building and design build remodeling, everything has been done. From the granite counter tops and stainless steel to the shabby chic reclaimed pallet coffee table in the Soho loft with exposed brick, it’s all been done, over and over again.
For the last 40 years we have watched the process unfold. Starting with The PBS “This Old House” TV show back in the early 80’s, where Norm Abrams and Bob Villa started documenting the home remodeling process to the endless drip of today’s makeover and remodeling dramas streaming on HGTV and every other source of media imaginable in 2020.
Conclusion? Everything has been done and as the good book says in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun”
I noticed this after several months on Instagram as I uploaded content for my company Jensen Hus and saw the 1000’s of other pages and posts from companies and individuals doing the same. Everyone is trying to muscle their way to the front, to stand out and show how awesome and different they are.
Conclusion? Nobody is different. Everyone is the same.
Every white cabinet kitchen and sparkling master shower and open concept contemporary overlooking the Pacific has been done. We get it. Your team of designers and craftsmen are award winning and the best in the business. Your mixture of design, materials and colors is unmatched. Your clients wait months, if not years for the opportunity to work with you and your firm.
Conclusion? Not really. You are all the same. We are all the same.
We design and build and fix houses, we are not building rockets to go to Mars! Yes, we put our signature on projects, but in the end THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME!!!!
This reality is not exclusive to the home building and remodeling industry. I would guess that it’s also true for 99% of businesses in operation today. There is no best car company, no best restaurant, no best hedge fund or no best dog groomer. The companies that are truly the best, probably operate in the 1% margins and even their reign at the top, has been historically short lived.
Since we now live in age where every troll that lives under a bridge will emerge to tell me that I’m an idiot for suggesting that all companies are not the same is missing the point. So I will deliver my rebuttal here preemptively- “Of course maroon, I’m not suggesting every company is the same and delivers the same product. What I am saying is that once you reach a certain level, in whatever business you are in, MOST of us are delivering the same or similar product of good quality. So, if you run a company that does not provide a good service or product, then this post does not pertain to you”
Question? Then why are we all trying so desperately to stand out?
I suggest that maybe we have fallen for the myth that we really can make the best widget or provide the best service above all others and if we could just get our customers to believe the same thing, then we will win and get to #1?
We look to sports or the outliers in the corporate world as inspiration and models for what our businesses should be. We look at athletes like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods who are the GOATs in their sport and try to emulate them and get our companies to “Be Like Mike.” We look to Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos as models and for inspirational memes and soundbites to help motivate or set targets for ourselves and our companies. Never mind, that these are 1 in a million types of people and businesses and trying to get to their level will only frustrate the 99.9% of us who might try.
The uniqueness of you is the one and only thing that matters. Your one of a kind house design or cutting edge app or your artisan pizza is nothing new under the sun. What is new is you! You are the only unique thing about your business and the only way that manifests itself is through your relationships. Your relationships between your employees, your customers and your vendors. This and only this, is how you can stand out. The bad news is that this approach will not lead to more followers on Twitter or Instagram. You cannot convey those connections through pixels and views. It may however, lead to more contentment and happiness as you get off the 8 lane superhighway to #1 and take the old way down Main street.
Conclusion? Focus on the relationships you do have.
Your current customers, your current employees and your current trade partners, they are the key to your success and fulfillment. If the likes and the followers come too, great! If, not who cares, that is not the race we are running.
Even those of you, that have a product so awesome and unique that no one else has, someone is on your tail right now trying to overtake you. That’s simply no way to live. Yes, your product or service may be great and even “the best” (by whatever standard you use), but if you have the relationships to go along with it, then you are unstoppable.
Conclusion? Get off the road of uniqueness and the race to #1 and give all the people around you the time and the GENUINE care and attention they deserve and see what happens.
Nathan Dishington of Jensen Hus – Dishington Construction Inc is Design Build Contractor in the Boston area specializing in contemporary building and remodeling projects and dolling out occasional, marginal advice for a random and obviously bored audience. [email protected]