The “Yada Yada” of Business


A classic Seinfeld episode comes to mind when I strategize with certain retailers and their obsession to try to be everything to everyone.

In this particular episode George is having one of his typical days of predictability, frustration and questioning what life is all about. Funny enough this mindset and questioning is exactly what many retailers experience on a constant basis. As the story line goes George makes a split second decision to do exactly the opposite of what he generally does. The remarkable result of this action is his life experiences; attitude, confidence and focus dramatically change for the better. Yes this is T.V. sitcom, but in reality this little jewel of an episode is far more fact than comedic fiction.

In the business world of today being your old predictable self is doing many retailers far more harm than good. The simple fact is, a profitable successful past does not necessarily equate to that being the norm in the new business reality. The majority of the buying culture of today does not care how long you have been in business, how popular the brand or brands you carry used to be, or that their parents once purchased something from you long ago. In fact much of that old history can actually weigh you down like an anchor in a world where fresh and shiny rules supreme in the minds of a growing, young and old cutting edge consumer base.

This is where George from Seinfeld comes into play again. When he decided to do the opposite of what he had become, he was able to reinvent himself, he streamlined his focus and rather than being all over the board, he became a defined individual that stood for something (at least in that one episode). This reinvention and fresh approach of being distinct in your attitude, approach and product offerings is exactly what is allowing a specialized segment of retailers to excel, while others that try to people please everyone are faltering.

Here are five tips on being distinct in your marketplace:

  1. Specialize – Let the big box stores fight it out in trying to cover every category imaginable. You don’t want to retail like them, the profit margins are low and the sku’s are many.
  2. Brand You – Develop a distinct marketing strategy that is uniquely you. Clearly get your message out about what you sell and why you’re the best. 
  3. Shift your mindset – You have a wrap your mind around that streamlining your product base is a good thing. Less is more in the long run.
  4. Be LOUD about what you do! Being loud about what you specialize in creates culture and following. Where would you go for your favorite coffee right now? That coffee company has done a great job in being specialized and top of mind to you.  
  5.  The surest route to failure is not to take risks. Don’t let the opinion of others stop you from being all you can be. Success in today’s business world requires you to think differently.
  6. Always give them more than they expect!