Guest Post by Becky McCray
Across the street from my store is a huge building, a former grocery store. It’s much larger than my little liquor store. I dream of taking it over, of building the ultimate wine bar and liquor store. I imagine the huge shelves, the amazing displays, the tasting bar, the free wifi, the replica of a liquor still, and the grapevines I’d plant outside. My husband and I talk about it, sitting in the front windows of our store, looking out across the street.
I’ll probably never own that building, and in all honesty, a lot of the things we dream up are not legally allowed. So why do I do it? Because I’m constantly trying to make my little store into the most amazing store possible. And in those little fantasies and idle discussions, I come up with ideas I can adapt and use.
Lots of us hide behind the idea that we just have a normal business. All that remarkable experience stuff sounds nice, but it doesn’t really apply to us normal businesses. We don’t work like that, and we aren’t looking to take over the world. Of course, that’s a false sense of comfort. Reality is too tough.
Dreaming of Growth
Normal is also the same thing as forgettable. You vividly remember businesses that amaze you, and you remember those who disappoint you. You will not be remembered if you settle for normal.
It’s a bit scary to change your entire mind set. It’s scary to let go of being normal. It means you have to work. It means you have to dream. It means you have to grow.
Once you’ve made the decision, what do you do? Like Jay says, you start with your branding. That’s what my big dreams are: the first step in imagining my brand. It helps that I’m imagining starting in a new, big building. Imagine how you would start, if you got a huge, new, clean slate. What would make the coolest ever of your type of business? Now, how can you adapt some of those ideas today? What can you start building towards, long term?
It’s all part of building your brand, creating experiences, and redefining what it means to be in business. What’s across the street from you? Where are your dreams leading you?
About the Author: Becky McCray is an entrepreneur and rancher in a small town in Oklahoma. She writes about small business and rural issues at Small Biz Survival, based on her own success and failures as a retail store owner, antiques dealer, and consultant. Previously, she worked as a city administrator, nonprofit executive and newspaper reporter.
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