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3 Decades of Business

There’s this small shop in town. It’s got a writing on the window that says “We make hand-crafted shoes“. Through the window you can spot a counter, a shelf with a few shoes and some tools on it. That’s it. It’s mostly unchanged for 3 decades.

Then, there’s this other shop with lots of stickers that say “Sale”, “Take 3, pay 2”, and “Brand-new collection”. Huge posters decorate the interior. There is upbeat music playing. The place has been constantly changing for 3 decades.

Question: Which one is right? Answer: Both.

Both attach to the values of their customers. They are easily recognised by the people they serve and dismissed by the others. Both feel familiar to their customers. Both have worked well for their owners for 3 decades – even if with quite different standards for success.

So, objectively, none is better than the other. They serve different customers with different needs.

Yet subjectively, both are way better than the other. Because they serve their customers with their specific desires.

There is no right/wrong answer to what story works for you. It’s a spectrum and you get to choose where you stand on that spectrum: Who do you want to be and who do you want to serve?

Different stories attract different customers. A consistent way of communicating your story is one way to show people where you position yourself on this spectrum to attract the customers that fit to who you are.

So, where’s your position? Think about your last talk or your last ad. What did it communicate about your values? Who did it invite to step in?

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