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Is Your Business More Vanilla or Jalapeno Chocolate Crunch?

I Stock Ice cream There are several themes you will read about in my blog. One of them is overcoming fear and the other is being boring (and yes, I know they are related themes). I talk about these themes a lot because I’m trying to work them out in my own life. You see, I have a confession to make; I’m basically a plain vanilla who secretly wants to be a Jalapeno Chocolate Crunch!

So what exactly is the difference? Vanillas are nice, people-pleasing people. They don’t like to make waves. They don’t stand out in the crowd. There is very seldom anything STRONG about their personalities.

Jalapeno Chocolate Crunch individuals, on the other hand, are either loved or hated. They don’t mind being hated because it is not their purpose in life to be a pleaser. They are who they are and not everyone likes them.

When vanilla individuals go into business for themselves they start with a whimper. It takes them time to get their momentum. It takes time to establish their USP – probably because they don’t want to offend anyone. This fear can keep them stuck. Therefore, it is a bit more difficult for them to gather a following.

When Jalapeno Chocolate Crunch businesses emerge, they do so with a bang. Some people hate them and some people love them. They develop a following because of their strength. They know who they are. They are not worried about everybody liking them (at least on the exterior.) I admire that.

My favorite example of a Jalapeno Chocolate Crunch business is ittybiz. Naomi, the proprietress has a strong personal web presence. She tells it like she sees it. People either love her or hate her – I personally adore the woman and think she is usually ‘right on the mark’ when she expresses her views.

Vanilla-type personalities are not likely to turn into Jalapeno Chocolate Crunchies because it would be too uncomfortable for them. Now, for the clincher – (drum roll please) how does a vanilla become memorable?

If you’ve shopped in the supermarket lately you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of different types of vanilla; Home-style vanilla, French vanilla, vanilla bean, etc. Different kinds of vanilla ice cream become memorable by distinguishing themselves from other vanillas. They might not be as distinctive as Jalapeno Chocolate Crunch, but they are noticeable and they can become unforgettable. (I overhead a woman at the store the day before Christmas lamenting the fact that there was no Canadian-vanilla ice cream available. It was her Christmas tradition to have some with hot, apple pie, and regular vanilla just wouldn’t do.)

My business might have started out with a whimper, but as people have gotten to know, like, and trust me, they now call me and refer others to me. These calls and referrals have had two positive effects on me: one, I have more business; and two, I have become more secure in what I do.

As I continue learning, developing my USP, and working with wonderful clients, my vanilla profile is churning into pralines and cream. I’ve actually discovered a benefit of being vanilla – it’s easier to change a few things without upsetting people. With these changes I am able to get down to work faster as I now have direction and can set definable goals. This also helps my customers as we are more in sync.

You can do this same thing in your business. Some things that have helped me, and might help you are:

Developing your ideal client and knowing your target market.
Defining what makes your business unique.
Gathering customer testimonials. By talking with your customers, you find the reasons they use your product or service. Sometimes these reasons are actually different than what you thought.
So, for the New Year I wish you lots of ice cream. Personally, I’m thrilled there are so many flavors of ice cream, businesses, and people. It makes life so much more interesting and fun.

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