This may be the most useful post I’ve written this year.

As regular readers will know, I often talk about the need for business owners to attract the attention of their marketplace and give them a story worth sharing. Well, I recently experienced a great example of how the process works.

I’m sharing it with you, because it’s so simple that anyone can learn the strategy, then think of ways to apply it into their business!

Here’s what happened.

How I attracted attention, started conversations and connected with people

I decided to have lunch at a coffee shop yesterday. While I was waiting for my lunch to arrive, I took my pen out and started jotting some ideas down. A customer sitting opposite me noticed I was using a fountain pen and commented on how rare it was, to see somebody using one. He asked me what I was writing and we chatted for a while, until the waitress arrived with my lunch.

The waitress heard us talking and said she loved the look of my fountain pen, before asking me if she could try it. I said yes and she remarked on how different it felt, compared to writing with a normal ballpoint pen. As she walked back to the kitchen, I overheard one of her colleagues asking what she was doing, so she told him. The story was spreading.

Here’s the thing: Imagine I’d been using a regular ballpoint pen to write my ideas down. If I had, none of those conversations or connections would have happened. The guy opposite would have just carried on drinking his coffee and Chloe, the waitress, would have served me, smiled and walked away.

The ballpoint business approach

By default, the average business is average. They are the commercial equivalent of a ballpoint pen. Reliable, yet unremarkable. So, they find it extremely hard to attract people’s attention. Instead, they push a ballpoint pen message, which people are not interested in.

This would be like me sitting in the coffee shop ASKING people to notice me. Instead of attracting attention and engaging people, those same people would have actively avoided me.

Yet, that is exactly how the average business is marketed. Instead of attracting attention, they pester people with an uninspiring, predictable story.

Copy the strategy, not the tactics!

If you are finding it hard to attract the attention of your ideal profile of client, consider adopting the fountain pen strategy. In other words, make at least one meaningful improvement to what you do. As you can see from my example, the key is to do something, which people notice AND want to talk about.

Here’s a tip — Don’t copy the tactics of another provider, who is standing out. However, by all means, copy their strategy!

Think of it like this: If someone copied my tactics and went into that same coffee shop today using a fountain pen, she would attract far less attention. The next person after her with a fountain pen, would attract almost no attention at all. However, anyone copying my strategy, “to do something interesting, which people will notice and talk about”, can attract just as much positive attention, make just as many connections and have just as many people sharing their story.

Yes it takes effort and creativity to build your own strategy, using the fountain pen approach to business. However, it’s the only way to avoid  being yet another invisible, boring, ballpoint business.

If you want to attract the right kind of attention, connect with new clients and give the marketplace a story about your business, which they will want to share, I can help – read this.

About Jim Connolly: I help small business owners attract more high quality clients, make more sales and boost their profits. To see how I can help you and your business, read this.