My favorite book of all time has to be the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I LOVE this book. If you’re a entrepreneur, this book is full of advice about life, business and should be among one of the books that you read.
Let me get to it.
A Shepard boy meets a man who claims that he is a king. He tells the Shepard boy that he knows the location of treasure and if he gives him two of his sheep he tell him where to find it.
The boy is relectunt about giving a stranger his sheep but the temptation about finding a treasure is to great.
The boy caves in.
The Shepard boy agrees and gives the stranger two sheep from his flock. The man tells the Shepard boy to travel to Egypt to find a hidden treasure among the Pyramids. The boy gets excited and sells the rest of his flock and travels to the middle east.
The Shepard boy travels spending all of his money. When he arrives, he gets the biggest shock of his life. Egypt is further from where he is now and to make matters worse, he is out of money and doesn’t know the language.
He skrumps around the city helping vendors, merchants and learns the language. During the boy’s routine market walk he meets a shopkeeper that sells crystal glass. The Shepard asks the shopkeeper if he can clean the crystal in exchange for food. The shopkeeper doesn’t say anything. The boy takes off his jacket and begins to clean the crystal on the front display.
Right after he finished cleaning and several customers walk in and buy several pieces of crystal. The shopkeeper is shocked and happy by the new business the boy is bringing.
Soon the boy finds himself employed with the shopkeeper and within months this dead shop starts to prosper.
Now I have to tell you there’s a lesson in there. A BIG lesson. A lesson about…..you guessed it…Positioning.
The shopkeepers shop was sitting on top of a hill away from the main market place where there was tons of foot traffic. The only way people saw the shop was when they made the climb. Before the Shepard boy showed up to clean the crystal, there wasn’t any business.
People would just walk by and ignored the shop.
So what happened to make people stop and take notice of the crystal shop?
A simple change in the front display caused people to stop and say, “Hey, looky here! A crystal shop.” Where as before no one cared and just kept on walking.
So why is positioning important in business?
Well let me tell you….
A damn good unique selling positing will help you dominate in a overcrowded market and if you play your cards right, compete against the big boys.
A quick and fast way to find out if your positioning in the market is good is to ask yourself, “What does my message say to my customer?”
This is where you have to take a step back and OBSERVE the world and your customer.
This requires some heavy research and some deep soul searching within your market. Of course it’s possible and I’ll elaborate at a later date.
In the Alchemist having clean crystal caught the attention of paying customers. Soon the shopkeeper had more business than he ever had in his last 30 years!
One last thing. A customer complains about not having anything to drink after walking up the hill to get to the crystal shop. The little Shepard boy sees this as a omen and decides to act on it. Can you guess what happens next?
Till Next Time, Stay hungry,