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Last night I was working on my presentation at the national newsagent conference next month, looking to illustrate how businesses establish their point of difference when I came across the above photo which I took in London in November last year. It’s a side street, somewhere in the City, with wall to wall restaurants. I recall counting over twenty restaurants in a line on both sides of this small street.

I hung around the lunch and sure enough the street was packed. People seemed to have their favorite places to go. The Italian places had similar menus as did the seafood places and so on. The key difference seemed to revolve around the experience – service and comfort of space. At least to this visitor that’s what it seemed to be.

The photo reminds me of the challenge we face in small business. Not only are we competing with big businesses but we are also competing with each other. Software companies are software companies. Software is software. The key is how you deliver a point of difference so that your customers keep coming back to you.

I find the photo inspirational because it reminded me of the challenge of competition an the need for exceptional customer service as the most important point of difference. In the software business you come across your competitors infrequently. These restaurants, on the other hand, see them every day all day from opening to closing.

Years ago we gave our customers a fridge magnet – yeah, I know, inspirational! :). Anyway, this fridge magnet said we will always remember how important your business is to ours. The photo af these restaurants in a row reminds me of that and the need to recommit to excellent customer service daily.

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