Figuring Out Your IT
I’d like to tell you a story about how a tiny little grocery store figured out their IT (unique selling proposition) and built a successful business around it. We need to go way back to when I was a teenager so bear with me.
When I was 14, I asked my mom if I could have a stereo. She said it was no problem and she’d show me the best way to make that happen. Work permit and job at the neighborhood grocery store later, I was on my way! LOL!
Oddly enough, it was at this grocery store/butcher shop that I first learned about your Unique Selling Proposition. Also known as your IT. Namely, figuring out what you do better than anybody else in your niche and focusing on it. Not being satisfied to do things just like somebody else. That’s how you build a successful business.
Our Corner Grocery Store
Let me give you a little background on this grocery store. We were on the far west side of Cleveland, Ohio in the suburb known as North Olmsted. The neighborhood was pretty blue collar. It was put on the map as a place to live so you could work either at the Ford plant, NASA or anyplace downtown. It was growing when I lived there and continues to grow today.
The grocery store was at the beginning of a short strip of five stores. The owners were decent people trying hard to build a business. They were smart to realize anybody can own a two bit grocery store but not a top notch butcher shop. They’d shopped in the newfangled “supermarkets” and couldn’t believe the junk they were passing off as meat. They even named the store “Dover Center Meats” to make it clear where their focus was. I still to this day believe they knew that people would buy some groceries while they were there getting their meat and not the other way around. Their insistence on the best of everything that came out of that butcher shop was nothing short of obsessive. I recall standing less than three feet away from George, the head butcher, while he was telling a massive, side of beef hoisting, meat company driver to “take that piece of &*%$ beef back to where it came and bring me another RIGHT NOW!” I thought there were going to be fisticuffs, honestly!
The Focus Bears Fruit
And it paid off too. People would come from the far East Side of Cleveland (read money) to buy their meat. I wish I could tell you how many times I helped people out to their cars with a full cart of nothing but meat that must have cost them over a hundred dollars. Remember, this was in the early seventies! They were happy to drive there to get it because their high end grocery stores could not touch the quality of Dover Center’s meat. They also knew their satisfaction was guaranteed and I can count on one hand the times they had to take a return.
It didn’t hurt that the store owners also realized their people were valuable too. Starting out at $1.40 per hour, I believe I received more raises there than I ever did in corporate America. Plus, when I worked Saturday or Sunday, they would feed me home cooked meals for lunch. Yumm! Unbelievable. Treating your people right is a subject for another post but I thought it bore mentioning here.
The market remained in business until I graduated from high school and the owners retired. Since then, it’s been a catering service and who knows what else. I know when the original owners sold there were a lot of sad people on the East and West Side of Cleveland.
What Is Your It?
What is it that you do better than anybody else that people really value that will bring them to you or your site from far away and be happy to do it? That’s where you need to be working and starting to build your business. Not with overpriced groceries but with the IT that gets people in to buy them.
I’m part of fizzle (paid link) and I’d like to recommend you get their free “Defining Your Audience” guide to help you figure this all out. I’ve been a fizzler for almost a year and these guys really know what their talking about!
Let me know what you struggle with and I’ll do all I can to get some content up here to help you with it. Leave me a comment below and I’ll get right on it!
Disclaimer-If you sign up with fizzle using the above link, I will receive a 10% discount on my subscription. If I didn’t believe in what they did, I wouldn’t recommend them. PERIOD! I would also recommend you listen to their weekly fizzle show podcast. It’s free, you’ll learn a ton and they’re funny as hell to boot! Can’t go wrong!
Oh, by the way, I did get that stereo. It was a Radio Shack receiver/amp combo (22 watts per channel-smokin’ HA!) with a Realistic (Radio Shack) turntable and two wood enclosed Radio Shack speakers with bass, midrange and tweeters! I was in heaven and I believe it set me back a cool $300.00. I was quite the audiophile at the time-LOL! Hey, I was freakin’ 14 years old. Cut me some slack!