How to Stand out in a Crowded Marketplace

Picture of Zebras

Photo Credit: malczyk via Compfight cc

Have you ever felt that your business is like a needle in a haystack? You know the feeling: you do a Google search about your business–let’s say yoga–and a bagillion other competing businesses show up. Yours is like on page 200. F*#k.

Or when you’re at networking events and you have collected ten other business cards that do the same work as you? Deflating.

Or how about in your own “back yard?” Every coffee shop, café, and health food market you’re in there are a thousand and one flyers that look like your flyer–that is, if you can even find your flyer because all those other bastards thumb-tacked over yours. Disheartening.

In my little city, there are over 30 hair salons in a two mile radius. On every block there is a yoga studio and art studio; every other building is a café. Who do I choose?

The point: how do you distinguish yourself from the 1,000 other…Yoga Studios? Reiki Healers? Web Designers? Life Coaches? Artist? (Fill in the blank.)

Have You Ever Seen Madagascar 2?

Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, and their friends board a plane to fly back to New York, but crash land in Africa. To their amazement in Africa, they find more of their kind, like they never knew more of them existed.

Alex the lion is reunited with his family. He has to deal with the challenges of being part of the Pride and to become Alpha lion. It’s also Alex’s job as the upcoming Alpha to fix the draught and save the lives of every animal.

Marty the zebra is facing his own frustrations and challenges because he looks and sounds exactly like every other Zebra in his tribe–and there are hundreds of them! This devastates Marty because in New York he is was known as a unique animal and the “one and only.”

Because of Alex’s and Marty’s challenges, tension evolves in their friendship. They have multiple fights and Alex emotional scars Marty. This battle ends their friendship and Alex seems to not care, which hurts Marty even more.

Alex realizes that he can’t save the animals on his own. He also realizes how much he loves Marty and that Alex was duffus for hurting their relationship. So Alex decides to make one last stand to apologize and then request his friendship and help.

Alex the lion is standing among hundreds of other Zebras grazing in an open field. He’s looking for his friend, Marty, and delivers a heart-felt speech to the crowd on why Alex needs him and how he’s sorry for being an ass. Once Alex gets to the climax of his speech, he points at one Zebra out of the hundreds crowded together. It’s Marty.

Marty is surprised and thrilled that Alex knew which one was Marty all this time. Marty even asked Alex how he knew. Alex said, “You know what makes you special? They’re white with black stripes. You’re black with white stripes; you’re a dreamer Marty. Always have been. You have great taste in music, and a horrible taste in friends.”

Here’s the entire scene so you get what I’m talking about.

How to Be Black With White Stripes

Alex knew Marty’s heart. He was attracted to his presence. It’s like this deep, inner knowing like how you could pick your child out of a crowd even if you’re blind folded.

Your business may look, sound, and act like the thousands of other (fill in blank) businesses out there, but you’re the only one that is black with white stripes. You have a presence in your heart that is like none other. And it’s that presence that makes you unique and attracts your right clients.

This presence has you standing out in the crowd. This is why your right client will pay the extra money to work with you. This is why your right client will walk a mile further to take classes at your yoga studio. This is why your right client goes to your farmers market rather than a big boxed grocery store.

Doesn’t Marketing Attract Your Right Clients?

Marketing talks to the Ego. This is important to help create safety so people are not scared of your love and want to step into your business. But the presence in your heart is what your right clients are thirsting for. They want your care, your generosity, your service, your humility, your uniqueness, your community, your truth, and all of your faults. They want to be part of something. They want the real you.

We have forgotten how to be a human being. It’s covered up with assumptions, beliefs, judgements, anger, and walls. If you can unlearn what you have learned since birth, the right people will love and support your business.

Polish the Heart

What a weight on your shoulders: unlearn what you have learned since birth. It’s not so hard, and it can happen in an instant. This means doing a spiritual practice or a mindfulness practice to shed the layers of the Self (also known as the ego, the mind, etc.).

Imagine there’s an energy field surrounding you. This energy field is established and projected from your heart. It’s like a beam shooting out of your heart and forming a protective bubble around you. The more polished the heart, the clearer it is; therefore, your energy field is stronger and able to project further affecting more of the world.

People want to taste and experience your presence. Because your unmasked presence shares the depth of being, the depth of profound love. We crave it. That’s the real reason I want to work with you. That’s why I will tell my friends about your service. That’s why you fell in love with your partner. And that’s why you grieve when you have lost, because that presence has burnt out. (Spiritually, “presence” cannot be destroyed. The conduit can be destroyed, but presence will transmute into something else.)

How to Polish Your Heart and Be Mindful

Any practice that relinquish attachment to the objects of consciousness arising every moment polishes your heart and cultivates mindfulness. It doesn’t have to be “spiritual” or “religious,” but it has to be meditative. I love traditional zazen. I also do Vinyasa Yoga, Voice Dialogue, and RUH.

What resonates with you? More importantly, are you consistent with your practice?

When I first started, I invested five minutes every day to zazen. The next week I did 10 minutes every day. Then I did 20 minutes. And then I did 30 minutes.

It doesn’t matter how long, what matters is that you do it. Start small and build up to larger chunks of time.

When I teach my clients, at the beginning of each session I lead a guided mindfulness practice. I have recorded that practice below. Listen to it. Follow my guidance. Download that practice and make it yours. This will polish your heart and cultivate mindfulness.

Download the Mindfulness Meditation. Listen to it while following my guidance.

Your business may look, sound, and act like the thousands of other (fill in blank) businesses out there, but you’re the only one that is black with white stripes. You have a presence in your heart that is like none other. And it’s that presence that makes you unique and attracts your right clients.

Marketing is important, it talks to the Ego so people are not scared of your love. But it’s your presence and love that your right clients crave. How can you polish your heart to make that love available? What’s your favorite way to open your heart? I gave you my mindfulness meditation and you’re welcomed to use that.

How to Get to the Next Level in Your Business?

Road Mapping Assessment ImageYou might be thinking about getting some hands-on help with your business. Whether you are new in business, or if you’re beyond start-up, we face the same truth: your to-do list runs for miles out the door. Which ideas and opportunities should you pick? How do you prioritize them?

I spoke with a friend who hit a ceiling with her business. Should she blog? Fix her website? Start networking? Get her newsletter going? Work on her client service? Those were some of the questions she had. Which ones to tackle first? She’s facing a lot of ideas and opportunities, but she overwhelmed and cannot see the forward.

If you’re thinking of getting support, and if you’re business has hit a dead-end, why not take my Free Road Mapping Assessment? You’ll learn exactly where your business is and you’ll clearly see the best way forward. This truth and clarity will ease the overwhelm and give you a roadmap of the opportunities and projects you need to be doing to reach your goals.

Sign up for the free Road Mapping Assessment here. It will only take an hour. It’s not a sales pitch, either. You will get genuine, real value from this assessment. And if it makes sense to explore working together, we’ll look at that or get you the right help.

How to Answer That Dreaded Question “What Do You Do?”

How to Say What You Do Image

New in business? Or have a long-term struggle bringing in enough clients and money? Check out the group course ‘Roots: More Clients and Money‘. I asked a client of mine what her biggest struggle is right now? She said, “I really hate going to networking events. Every time someone asks, ‘So what do you do,’ […]

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