Off To Find My Shoes

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So, I recently blogged about my new “No Quotes” policy at Three Wise Men, and I’ve blogged in the past about the perils of software development quotes.

Lately I’ve been explaining this to some of my business associates in other industries and I’m getting a lot of blank stares. In fact, the two times I’ve explained it at greater length, each time I’ve been asked “Do other businesses in your industry do this?”

I think the geek in me is showing again here. I’m excited that I think I can finally pull this off – but I think others don’t see the problem as I see it (or even at all).

It will be quite a challenge to explain this to people who don’t see the problem, who don’t believe there is one, or who have only benefited in the past from it. And this is a very long list of people.

So, with the initial flurry of preaching to the choir over, I am setting out to nail down the real issue – which I believe is risk management. Looking at competition in my industry, this looks to be a common approach.

But do I really care about whether other businesses in my industry work this way? Do I really care to take the same approach is my competitors? Doesn’t this just water down my business to look like all the others? What do I do when my USP (Unique Selling Proposition) vanishes in a puff of smoke?

Were these reactions to my ramblings a function of my inability to explain myself in clear business terms, the knee jerk reaction to “Steve’s going off again… another weird geeky topic nobody cares about…”?

An associate of mine had a great way of explaining what I believe to be my biggest shortcoming when it comes to marketing and sales, he called it “selling the pygmies”. It’s a long-winded story about a tribe of pygmies that make shoes, and trying to sell the pygmies instead of the shoes.

So, I’m off to find my shoes 🙂 to describe their comfortable sole and double-wide shine, in hopes that I can help people understand.

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