What sets you apart from your counterparts? Why should a client hire you instead of your next door neighbor? Do you provide a truly quality product? Do you offer something extraordinaryry or just something ordinary? Do you know the difference?
Right now the media is truly manic. We go from the highs of the inauguration and the concept of "change" to the lows of a repeat of the Great Depression. If you listen to the pundits long enough you will be ready for a barrel ride over Niagara Falls.
Don't let all this hype drag you down. Take a good deep breath and remind yourself that the difference between success and failure is one small step. As independents we have a strong advantage right now. Businesses are pulling in their wheels, laying-off employees, reducing inventories, closing offices. But what remains of these businesses still needs our services. It just needs SMARTER services --- less waste, better performance, quicker responses, an extraordinary product.
We can provide those services and at a better price. We can do what large corporations cannot do --- we can individualize our services and nurture each client down the road to success.
What are heirloom tomatoes?
Heirloom-tomato expert Darrell Merrell is quoted as saying
". . . an heirloom is a plant that's been handed down from one family member to another for several generations. Darrell considers a plant 50 years old or more an heirloom tomato. A lot of open-pollinated tomatoes have come along since then that will someday be heirlooms. An heirloom is generally a plant that's survived the test of time and produced an abundance of tomatoes with great flavor."
"Each heirloom variety has its own story, handed down from one generation to another. Some go back hundreds of years. The oldest tomato is called 'Moneymaker', an English variety between 250 and 300 years old. It was the first English variety grown for market sale -- hence its name." See DYI Network on Heirloom Tomatoes.
Why Are Heirloom Tomatoes Important?
Because the seeds for those tomatoes were carefully saved from each year's harvest, then dried and kept safe until the next planting season. They were handed down from generation to generation, lovingly planted and nurtured until they grew a new crop of luscious-tasting tomatoes. Today's hardy tomatoes owe their sheer existence to these heirloom varieties. But the joy, to me, is having the ability to grow wonderfully tasty tomatoes of a variety someone grew 100 years ago. This tells me someone cared enough to nurture the plants and their progeny through the ages.
If we nurtured our clients with the same diligence as these gardeners tended their plants, we would have healthy vibrant clients --- clients durable enough to succeed in today's failing market. Clients strong enough to grow and expand. Clients strong enough to refer clients to give us great referrals. With their success comes OUR success.
So what IS the difference between ordinary and extraordinary? One extra step -- the willingness to nurture what may be little more than a client's frail idea into a robust and thriving business. In giving more than we take, we truly reap benefits in the end. In these days of financial woe, paying it forward will provide its own rewards.