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As an entrepreneur, you’re charged with creating value in exchange for money. It’s my mantra… it’s what I wake up everyday repeating and it’s what I go to bed thinking about.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

Take a landscape company for instance. There’s not much in the way of the actual work to be done wherein you can make a major impact or impression over one of the other 50 landscape companies in the phone book. Sure, you smile more, speak english better, put a happy face on your bid form, be priced 5% less than all the other bids. But just exactly HOW can you create more VALUE for your customer than all your competitors?

In many cases, thinking outside of what you do directly (landscaping) will take you into another world of choices and one where I can guarantee none of your competitors will even think of going.

First, let me digress. We first need to understand the concept of creating value. I mean to say it can come from anywhere. It can be done in millions of different ways (literally.) When a landscape company tries to think of ways to differentiate themselves from their competition, most will keep their thoughts tied to the customer’s yard. Well, I’m here to tell you, most landscape companies can mow a lawn about as good as any other one. You got to think outside your own industry.

If I were the owner of a landscape company, I’d have the best margins in my area and I’d have a waiting list. (Fortunately for all the landscape companies around here, I hate getting dirty!)

Let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about and these are just off the top of my head. Why not take a picture of your customer’s yard after the job is done.? Then digitally enhance the image so that it looks really cool, perhaps in black and white, put an oval outline around the picture then put the text “Smith” on the top of the oval and “Gardens” on the bottom of the oval (Smith being the name of the owner who’s yard you just did.) It makes a kind of logo effect.

Then go to cafepress.com and upload the image and order a t-shirt with this imprinted on it. To get the process up and running, it’d take you maybe $100 in design work from a designer and then you can just use the same technique he teaches you to do the subsequent ones using a simple graphics program. So each image after the first you can do yourself in about 15 minutes and upload to cafepress.com. The t-shirt only costs $20 with shipping. Then when you get the t-shirt, put it in a nice gift box with a handwritten note, thanking them for their business. You can even include instructions on how they can get more t-shirts (for family… etc) at cafepress.com and earn affiliate income on their subsequent orders.

I can GUARANTEE that if you did that for each of your clients as a landscape company, you’d have a TON of word of mouth business and you’d never have to advertise again.

Here’s another one… note if your customer has a dog, cat or some other interest you can play up to. Let’s say they have a Cocker Spaniel named “Boogers.” Using the hydrastone that I mentioned in a previous post, you can make generic round stepping stones. It would be easy once you’ve made the mold, to pour a stepping stone or two with “Boogers” embedded in it using plastic or wooden lettering. (The hydrastone would be poured over it in reverse and then it would come out the right way when the hydrastone set.)

Go by the house and place the stepping stone where you think it would be good to place it and then leave a note on the door, thanking them for the business and tell them where to look in the yard for their new stepping stone. I can tell you that if you did this for ANY dog or cat owner, they would be so shocked, many would actually cry. Because of the thoughtfulness of it and the fact that they love their animal and you paid enough attention to even know what their animal’s name was.

I can go on (and unfortunately, I tend to do that, looking at the length of some of my posts… haha!)

Bottom line…. don’t restrict yourself to creating value for your customer directly related to your service or product. The world is full of value creating opportunities that your customer can fully appreciate. The nice thing is, almost no one is doing this type of thing. You can seriously dominate your industry without so much as a dollar spent on advertising.

Again, value can come from ANYWHERE not just what you specialize in.

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