A Single Word
There's no denying it; words are powerful. I'm talking
P O W E R F U L! A single word can change your entire perception
of a situation. A single word can completely change the
effectiveness of a marketing or sales message to your market. A
single word can have an effect on your entire business. Let me
explain what I mean.
About 20 years ago I developed a software product for large
mainframe computers. Remember that there were no PC's in those
days; mainframes were the biggest computers normally used by
businesses and those that had them typically had their own staff
of programmers. My software was a tool designed specifically for
those programmers and helped them with testing and debugging.
Naturally, I had to clearly convey the functionality of my
product to my market (corporate programming groups), but it was
complicated to describe. "...a tool that allows your programmers
to manipulate data files and make quick changes and fixes for
testing, debugging, and troubleshooting..." What was that again?
Then one day, like a bolt of lightening, it hit me. My product
is an editor. Period. An "editor". What a concept! Why didn't
I think of that before? An editor. Now it is crystal clear.
Programmers know what an "editor" is. My software allows them to
"edit" their data. Bingo! A single word changed my entire
perception of my own product, and enabled me to clearly describe
to my market exactly what it does. It also allowed me to list it
in directories and catalogs where the listings would be most
Many years ago, the makers of Sweet 'n Low were in a quandary.
How do they increase their sales when their product is everywhere
already? Being in the sweetener business, they tried to think of
creative ways of selling more Sweet 'n Low. Then they realized
that they were not in the "sweetener" business after all; they
were in the "packaging" business. Instead of selling more Sweet
'n Low, why don't they package other condiments? Catsup,
mayonnaise, relish, mustard, etc. could all be sold to their
existing customer base. A single word changed the direction of
their entire organization.
At one time the train industry was trying to figure out how to
attract more passengers. Then they realized that they were in
the "transportation" business, not the "passenger" business.
Suddenly they had an entirely new market, and began transporting
freight, oil, coal, vehicles, etc. A single word is all it took
to change history.
What is it that you do? Instead, maybe I should ask, "What is it
that you THINK you do?" Ponder that for a moment. Here's an
exercise: define what you do and write it down in twenty-five
words or less. Be very careful, concise, and clear in your
description. Expand your thinking for a moment: are there any
other words that could be used to describe what you do? One of
those new words just might give you a surprising insight into
what you COULD be doing.
About the Author
Dave Balch generated over $5 million from his home-based
business. He is now a professional speaker, consultant, and
author of "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe", available 2001. Visit
http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com to sign-up for a FREE electronic
newsletter on small/home business, for information on speaking
services, copies of past articles, or to read a free excerpt.
Comments and/or questions are always welcome at 1-800-366-2347 or