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Categorized | Publisher's Letter

Go ahead, be different

I was inspired last week by a story of a local small business looking for a creative way to fire up their team. During a beginning-of-the-year sales meeting, the owners hired some well-known sign spinners.

Now if you aren’t sure what a sign spinner is, you have probably seen them at busy intersections near you. They are the extraordinarily energetic and animated individuals that advertise for their clients by dancing about enthusiastically while proudly holding signs. They apparently lack the part of the brain that governs embarrassment because the better they dance, the happier their employer is.

To break up the monotony of a boring sales meeting, this staffing company invited the sign spinners to get on stage and have a dance off. Armed with Hire Methods signs, they began to do what they do best. The impromptu display of outrageousness was just the trick to lighten the mood and fill the room with laughter. Brilliant, I thought, I never would have thought of that.

It did get me thinking. What can I do that would be different, create a better work environment, or differentiate my business from that of my competitors?

Upon more reflection, I was reminded of numerous examples from individuals I have already learned from.

•Donna Reade at Car-Tech introduces herself to strangers bysaying, “It’s a great place to take a leak.” Once the giggling stops, they will always remember her and her business.

•Frank Wallmeyer of Safegaurd Printing gives away ice scrapers. In fact, it is so odd of an item to leave behind in Florida, he has developed a cult following of sorts—and people know him and his business for it.

•Jason Sadler with iwearyourshirt.com sells advertising space on his body.

Of course, being different is being innovative. For example, one of the reasons we profiled Pet Paradise this issue is not only because Fred Goldsmith, CEO, has surrounded himself with a team of top talent, but also because he found a niche and put a new spin on an old business. Locating a pet boarding house near an airport? Of course, why didn’t I think of that?

Regardless, no industry, no company, and no individual owns the market on unique ideas. There is no finite supply of innovation that can help you grow your business. And the best part is, they don’t have to work! Your customers and employees alike usually appreciate out-of-the-box thinking and not that “follow the herd” mentality.

So what can you do to be different? That’s for you to decide, but in case you were thinking about the inviting-sign-spinners-to-the-business-meeting idea, you are too late, it’s already been done—and we have video to prove it.


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