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I want you to think back a few years. Before baseball stars admitted to using steroids. Before Madonna started writing children’s books. Before Tanya Harding was a boxer and before Nancy Kerrigan teamed up with Uncle Joey from Full House for Celeb-Skating. (author side question: what is our world coming to?) Back to the article…

The year was 1994 and everyone across the United States was watching the highly anticipated U.S. Olympic figure skating trials…okay, I’ll admit, I had no clue they were on, but I am sure there were a lot of people that were interested. I personally found out via the several thousand airings of the “incident.” Here is the what happened, incase you didn’t go outside of your cave in 1994:

Nancy Kerrigan was the favorite to make the U.S. Ice Skating Team for the Winter Olympics. Arch rival, Tanya Harding, schemed with her boyfriend on a bar napkin a dastardly plot to have a large creepy guy whack Kerrigan on the knee so she could not compete. With Kerrigan out of the way, Harding would make the team and live happily ever after.

After getting clubbed by the creepy guy, Kerrigan laid on the floor crying and screaming, “WHY MEEEE???????, WHY MEEEE???????” Lucky for us, the television cameras were there to capture the real-life drama and played it over and over. You may now be thinking, “Thanks for the tabloid history lesson, but what does this have to do with building my small business?” Great question, here is your answer:

As a small business owner, if you do not know the answer to the question, “why me – why use my business?” – how can you expect your prospects to know it? If prospects don’t know “why you,” they will probably give their business to a company they do know the answer. When you are clear on “why me,” you will be able to share that with your prospect.

Here are two steps to help you develop a better understanding and articulation of “why me” with your business.

1) Different Strokes for Different Folks – Todd Bridges is on that Celeb-Skating show too by the way. But I digress! Take a piece of paper and list out all the ways your business is different than your competition. Different not better. People don’t usually chose a company because they are better. On the other hand, they do often chose a company because they are different in a way that appeals to them. Hint – if you find the words:service, quality, or caring, on your list, cross them out! You can’t be different (even if you are) by saying the same stuff everyone else already says.

2) Spit it Out! – If you can’t articulate the difference to prospects, it doesn’t do you much good. Looking at your list, pick what you consider to be the three most powerful differences. If you can’t decide, share your list with some close business associates and see what they consider to be the three most powerful. Once you have three powerful differences, practice putting them into a brief description of your business. Then get out there and say it. The more you say it, the more you will believe it and the better it will sound.

Two steps to prepare you for the moment a large creepy guy comes and whacks you on the knee. Okay, it won’t do much for you in that case. However, it will help you sell your product and services to that very same large creepy guy – which, as long as they are not clubbing people, seems like an acceptable practice. Large creepy guys need to buy stuff too.

This Marketing article was written by Kevin Kearns on 3/20/2006

Kevin Kearns is a small business branding coach from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Visit to join The Branding Bunch – a community of small business owners wanting to Become the Only Choice.

As a founding partner in “”The World’s First Snowboarder Hotels”” (, Kevin has experienced success only true branding can bring.