Fortune Cookie
Jun 21 2021

Be First, Be Daring, Be Different

Some time ago, I opened up a fortune cookie at the conclusion of a Chinese dinner and read:

“To Be Successful in Business Be First, Be Daring, Be Different.”

I dropped the fortune into my nearly empty tea cup. But then it struck me that this little slip of paper extolled the exact advice I give many of my clients—not just about business, but about careers and as a way to live their lives. It really did say something about someone’s future! I dug the wet fortune out of the cup with a fork, dried it off and saved it.

These days almost everything on the market has become a commodity–like apples in a supermarket.  If you want one, you look for the juiciest one you can get at the lowest price. You don’t particularly care what farm it came from or who the distributor is.  Twenty-five or so years ago, if you wanted a computer, your choices were an IBM (First), an IBM “clone” (Daring), or an Apple computer like the Macintosh (Different). Today, however, if you want a computer, you may still want a brand name, but unless it’s an Apple (Different), you are unlikely to care which brand name it is. In other words, name-brand computers have, for most of us, become . . . well . . . expensive apples—commodities that are not unlike fruit in the supermarket.

Has it happened in our industry? To you? Does your business or your insurance products or financial services look to your prospects and clients like supermarket fruit? Is the only way you can think of to compete by premium quotes or the fees you charge for planning and managing assets, resulting in smaller fees, less revenue and significantly weaker client loyalty?  When you’re First or Daring or Different, your competitors are the supermarket fruit, but you’re not one of them. You’ll attract the people who don’t want just any apple. They want YOU.

Take a stab at being First, Daring or Different:

  1. Change your business. If you’ve been telling people you’re an advisor that works with anyone and everyone, stop doing that.  Be the number one advisor in a category.  Be the one that dares to stand out in other ways…First, Daring, Different.
  2. Articulate your unique value to your customers. With so many choices, why should they be working with you and not someone else in the same business?  Do what you can to keep best price quote or lowest fees from being the distinguishing factor.
  3. Get help with your brand, your leadership, and your services. Turning yourself from an apple into anything else is never easy. That’s one reason why top executives and business owners hire coaches.

Whether you get help or not, to be successful in business be First, be Daring, or be Different. And keep REACHING


Want to talk about what being first, being daring, or being different might look like in your business?

Schedule a no-fee consultation with Sandy today!