Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Be the Expert - How To Make Yourself Known As The BEST In The Biz

I'm going to tell you a secret.
My secret cookie recipe.

Probably not what you were expecting to read about on a business blog but give me a chance to explain. You see, 'round these parts, I'm known for my Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies. I'm asked to make them for bake sales, events, and birthdays. Everyone LOVES my cookies. Last spring, one dozen of my cookies went for $50 at a silent auction.

And now I'm going to share with you my super secret recipe.

The Secret Recipe

Are you ready?
Do you have a pen?
Okay, you need to go to the store and buy a bag of Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips, the recipe is on the back. Oh and grab a bag of semi-sweet chips too. I use those instead of the peanut butter chips in the recipe. That's the only change I make. {the real secret revealed later in this post}

So how did I get "famous" for my Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies when anyone can make them?  And why are we talking about cookies and not business? I'll answer both those questions and hopefully you'll see the why.

How I Got Famous

I got famous for my cookies because I TOLD people that I make the best Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies and my family backed me up. They believed us. And when they tried my cookies, they told their friends how wonderful they are. Word spread. It's that simple.

I don't make any other cookies for people. Just the one kind. Of course around the house, I make other cookies but for events and such, nope. One kind, the kind I'm known for. If I were in the cookie business, I could expand. People would assume that all my cookies would be just as delicious as the first one they tried. They would be right, of course.

Cookies and Business, Really?

As entrepreneurs, we always have great ideas. There are so many things we want to do that we can't focus. Everything becomes a struggle. Should I make this? Should I change that? Where should I start? Then we just shut down. Too many choices and we can't make a decision.

Here's what to do:
1. Start with one thing. Focus on the one thing you are really good at. Just do that.
2. Tell everyone you are the best.
3. Now back it up with the BEST.
4. Continue to tell everyone you are the best, and back it up with testimonials.
5. Rock on!

That is obviously a bit simplified but the point is, focus on one thing first. Focus!

But What About The Competition?

Don't worry about people who make something similar. They aren't you. Yours is different. YOU are different. You do something to your product that sets it apart and that's what makes it the best. It's your "secret recipe"... everyone might have access to the recipe, but it's what you do to it that makes it special.

In the beginning, focus on just that one thing, and when you become known as the best in the biz, then you can add something different to the mix. Because if you're an expert at one thing, people will assume you're an expert at the next thing you make. Then it's up to you to make sure they are right.

Example: I'm good friends with the folks at Northland Woolens. The make mittens from recycled sweaters. Not just any sweater mittens... the BEST sweater mittens.

You all know that there are sweater mitten patterns out there. Sure, you probably even know someone who makes them. But Maria at Northland Woolens makes special mittens. She hand dyes buttons to match the mittens. She dyes wool to make special cuffs for the mittens. She uses the best quality materials, all from right here in the USA. She inspects each mitten before it's shipped out. They have mittens all over the world!  I have 5 pair, they're like candy. They really are the best sweater mittens I've ever seen.

The Real Secret

It's you that makes your product the best. It's what YOU add to it.

Would you like to know what I do that makes my cookies so good?

The secret is...  never over bake them.  Now don't you go rolling your eyes at me! It's true. If there's a bit of brown on the cookie, it's over-done. I bake mine for 11 minutes, take them out and let them sit on the stone sheet for another 5. Then move them to a cooling rack. Perfect, every time!

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  1. I LOVE THIS! You had me at double chocolate fudge peanut butter. Mmmm. This is one of the best business metaphors I've ever seen!

    1. Thanks Renae :) Now I need to find a way to work my special cake recipe into a post. The special brownie recipe... I'll take to the grave.

  2. Oh yes, we don't over bake here either. Generally a little under baked is the best!
    Thanks for the post!

    1. You're welcome :) I leave the cooking and baking to the rest of the fam as often as I can.

  3. Great post! Good reminder to stay FOCUSED! :)

    1. Thanks Becky! Staying focused can be so hard sometimes :)

  4. Love it! And you ROCK for making cookies the same way I do....taking them out before their "done". I can't stand hard cookies and everyone used to beg me to make my chocolate chip cookies (yep...the ones on the bag) and all I ever did differently was add a touch more butter and take them out before they were over cooked. So funny. And so true about how it relates to our businesses.

    1. GMTA Shanna! The funny thing is, when I'm cooking, I'm notorious for walking away because I can't FOCUS on cooking. And I let things burn. But never cookies. Never!

  5. Great post! I totally agree with focusing on one thing and making it great. Sometimes we just spread ourselves too thin trying to please everyone. I also agree that under-baked is best!

    1. Thanks :) Sometimes it's so hard to focus and we just want to jump to the next shiny idea. I don't think it's ADD... I think it's TOID: Tons Of Ideas Disorder

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  7. I love this too, it makes me want to run into the studio and FOCUS! My son has taught me to watch out for overbaking as well :)

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