Lessons from a Lone Goose
By Eric Greene
Have you ever noticed how geese tend to run (and fly and poop) in flocks? Well, it seems there's one goose in the field by my house that waddles to his own beat. While the other geese are hanging out in groups of 10, 20, or more, "Gandolph Goose" just wants to stand alone. (Yeah, I named him. But hey, It’s a pandemic.) And in his doing this, Gandolph the lone goose has taught me some unexpected lessons about entrepreneurship and the importance of standing apart.
Gandolph has been hanging out solo in the field for a couple of weeks now. Rest assured, he's healthy, not hurt. He can fly, function and take care of himself. Yet still he chooses to stand apart from the nearby flock. And in doing so, the damnedest thing has happened. I notice him. Everyone notices him.
People stop in their cars. They snap off pictures. Somebody fed him bread crumbs. I saw another person roll down a window to say hi. There was a little kid who tried to chase him. Neighbors talk about him. Even other geese from further down the field come visit. Gandolph lets them hang out for a few minutes, but then moves several yards away to be solo again.
The punch line here? By separating from the flock...and staying separate... our lone goose is GETTING NOTICED AND GAINING OUTSIZED ATTENTION, while nobody looks twice at the other geese. Doesn't this same insight apply to your business? To your products, services, marketing, sales efforts, website, app, etc.?
The mere act of standing apart in as many ways possible makes you that much harder to ignore.
How do you apply this to your business? Your goal is to be recognizable and distinguishable from your competition in as many ways as you can. Here are some great examples from companies that started small but are making a name:
PROBAR is a natural foods/energy bar company I’ve done a lot of consulting work for over the years. From their startup roots, the company’s first President literally packed up his young family of four and took them on a nationwide product natural foods store sell-in roadie. Despite more modern means of selling available, this hands-on, personalized sales tradition carried on for a number of years. Today, this company is worth millions.
Canada Goose: their patch is so cool and looks so great on apparel that it makes people buy their products at rates much higher than their competition.
Patagonia Iron Clad Customer Service Guarantee: they will repair/replace anything you purchase from them and are not satisfied with for any reason
Full Cycle Bike Shop (Boulder): Sunday Mountain Bike Group Rides / Saturday Group Road Rides
Santa Fe Arts District (Denver): First Friday Art Walks to draw customers to all businesses on the block.
These are only a few examples, but you get the idea: the more ways in which you can distinguish your business from your competition….the better off you are.
It just goes to show. What's good for the goose is good for your business.
Eric Greene is a proven executive turned success/executive coach + team facilitator at the Greenehouse (www.GHouseCoaching.com). Pouring my experience (startup, 3 successful entrepreneurial ventures, former President, CxO, EVP/GM) into helping you work smarter. Lead better. Stress less. Kick ass. And find more joy in doing it.