The Value of Being "Second" -- 3 Reasons Why Your Biz Might be Better Off Not Being First

Michelle Pariza Wacek
March 4, 2013 — 1,232 views  
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My Zumba instructor, Tiger, was born to teach Zumba. Her passion and love for it are infectious plus she's an excellent teacher (in fact she's been honored at a statewide level she's such a fabulous teacher.) Her classes are packed, and her teaching methods and style has influenced all the Zumba instructors at the YMCA.
 
But, it wasn't always this way. In fact, she almost got fired after her very first class. Read on to find out how.

Title: What My Zumba Instructor Can Teach You About Your Biz
I admit it. I'm addicted to Zumba.

But it didn't happen right away. For a year I flitted in and out of classes, not really clicking with it but since I kept hearing from my friends how much they loved it I kept trying it.

And then I ended up in a class with a woman named Tiger. And I was hooked.

Tiger was born to teach Zumba. Her passion and love for it are infectious plus she's an excellent teacher (in fact she's been honored at a statewide level she's such a fabulous teacher.) Her classes are packed, and her teaching methods and style has influenced all the Zumba instructors at the YMCA.

But, it wasn't always this way. In fact, she almost got fired after her very first class.

In that class, she started with 18 students. By the time the class was half over she had 9. But the time class ended it was down to 6. And the next day her boss asked Tiger to come to her office.

Her boss told her she had been flooded with complaints about Tiger.

* Too much hips
* Too Latino
* Too sexy
* Too loud

(I'm unclear what they actually thought Zumba was all about since that's pretty much the definition of Zumba but whatever.)

Her boss told Tiger she couldn't teach anymore unless she toned it down. So she went home and said to her husband "They won't let me teach because they think I'm too sexy."

Her husband answered "Oh they're a bunch of old white women, they don't get it."

"I have to tone it down if I want to teach," Tiger said.

"You don't change a thing," her husband said. "You teach it the way you want to. And if they don't like it, we'll find a place that does."

So Tiger went back to her boss and begged to be given another chance. "Will you change?" her boss asked.

"Yes, yes, yes," Tiger said, fingers crossed behind her back.

And of course she didn't change a thing. Her next class she taught it exactly the way she had taught the first one. But this time she had younger students who loved it and told her boss. So her boss finally gave her a class of her own to teach. It was the smallest class the Y ever had -- about 6 students. In 3 months it was up to 40.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

So there are a lot of things to take away from this story, but the one I want to talk about today is the idea of ideal clients.

As successful Tiger is as a Zumba instructor, in front of the wrong crowd (i.e. the opposite of her ideal clients) she was a complete failure. Once she found her ideal clients everything fell into place.

And that's why knowing your iThe Value of Being "Second" -- 3 Reasons Why Your Biz Might be Better Off Not Being First

There's a lot of value around being first in your business. The first person to come up with a hot product or service tends to reap a huge amount of rewards in the process.

However, being first isn't always all that and a bag of chips. In fact, there are times when being second to the party puts you in a better position than being first. Below are 3 reasons to celebrate being second:

1. You know there is a market for what you're selling. The one thing no one talks about in the "quest to be first" is the fact that lots of times, the person who is first falls flat on their face. Sure we all want to be Apple with the next iPod. But what about all those businesses who came up with some brand-spanking new gadget and didn't sell a thing?

Years ago, I read a story about entrepreneurs knowing when it was time to give up. One of the stories was from a guy who created a picture frame that "talked" -- I can't remember if you could create your own audio but I do remember he had these pictures of famous events, like Neil Armstrong on the moon, and you pressed a button and heard a recording of Neil talking about one giant leap for mankind.

Everyone who saw it loved the concept. But no one loved it enough to buy them. He said he stayed in business a good couple years past when he should have quit and lost thousands more because people kept telling him what a cool concept that was even though it apparently wasn't "cool" enough to actually purchase.

So here we have a story about someone who was first with this cool concept and no one bought it. Because there wasn't a market for it. And that in a nutshell is why it can be scary to be first, because you have no idea if what you're selling is something people actually want to buy. (Or at least want to buy at that moment of time -- there are also stories of entrepreneurs who had the right idea at the wrong time -- 10 years later the idea is big hit but not when they came up with it.)

Now, if you're second, then you can celebrate because you know there's a market for what you're offering. In fact, I would go as far to say if there's competition for what you want to offer that's a good thing because then you know for sure there's a market for it.

2. You can improve upon what the "first" already did. Google wasn't the first search engine out there. Zappos wasn't the first to sell shoes online. But now both of them are the two-ton gorilla in the room. They looked at what the other "firsts" were doing -- both right and wrong, and improved upon it.

And not only does this mean improving on the product or service it also means improving on the marketing.

If you are second you're in a fabulous position to analyze what the "first" did and see how you can improve it to solidify your position in the marketplace. And if you do this right, you may have your own opportunity to be "first" -- and reap the benefits without taking as much of the risks, which I cover in the next reason.

3. You have the opportunity to put your unique spin on whatever is "first" -- which could make it "first." Let's take coaches. Coaches have been around, well, probably for as long as there were people. I suspect when we were all cavemen we had coaches teaching us better ways to run away from saber tooth tigers and selecting the right berry to gather. But coaches as an entrepreneur industry is a relatively new thing. And the new twists on coaching also can make it feel first, even though the field of coaching is not new.

How this could work in your own business: See what you offer in your business that's a "second" -- is there a way you can put your own stamp on it (maybe combine with something else or approach it with a fresh angle) that could give you the security of knowing there's a market while also letting you be "first" with your own twist? This is the secret to standing out in a crowded marketplace so don't rush into this. Play around with some ideas and test them out to see what you come up with.

Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company that helps entrepreneurs attract more clients, sell more products and services and boost their business. To grab your FREE "Ka-Ching! Business Kit" with a FREE CD visit http://www.MichelePW.com/freecdeal clients is so crucial to the success of your business, and why trying to market to everyone leads to spinning your wheels. Because not everyone is going to become your customer (it honestly doesn't matter how good you are or how much they need what you're selling, they just aren't). And all you do is dilute your message when you try to talk to everyone instead of just to your ideal clients.

And even if you end up getting your non-ideal clients in your business, those are the ones who will be harder to please, who will be more likely to complain you're just "too sexy." And at the end of the day, ask yourself: Are those the people you really want to be serving in your business?

Because chances are you'lThere's a lot of value around being first in your business. The first person to come up with a hot product or service tends to reap a huge amount of rewards in the process.

However, being first isn't always all that and a bag of chips. In fact, there are times when being second to the party puts you in a better position than being first. Below are 3 reasons to celebrate being second:

1. You know there is a market for what you're selling. The one thing no one talks about in the "quest to be first" is the fact that lots of times, the person who is first falls flat on their face. Sure we all want to be Apple with the next iPod. But what about all those businesses who came up with some brand-spanking new gadget and didn't sell a thing?

Years ago, I read a story about entrepreneurs knowing when it was time to give up. One of the stories was from a guy who created a picture frame that "talked" -- I can't remember if you could create your own audio but I do remember he had these pictures of famous events, like Neil Armstrong on the moon, and you pressed a button and heard a recording of Neil talking about one giant leap for mankind.

Everyone who saw it loved the concept. But no one loved it enough to buy them. He said he stayed in business a good couple years past when he should have quit and lost thousands more because people kept telling him what a cool concept that was even though it apparently wasn't "cool" enough to actually purchase.

So here we have a story about someone who was first with this cool concept and no one bought it. Because there wasn't a market for it. And that in a nutshell is why it can be scary to be first, because you have no idea if what you're selling is something people actually want to buy. (Or at least want to buy at that moment of time -- there are also stories of entrepreneurs who had the right idea at the wrong time -- 10 years later the idea is big hit but not when they came up with it.)

Now, if you're second, then you can celebrate because you know there's a market for what you're offering. In fact, I would go as far to say if there's competition for what you want to offer that's a good thing because then you know for sure there's a market for it.

2. You can improve upon what the "first" already did. Google wasn't the first search engine out there. Zappos wasn't the first to sell shoes online. But now both of them are the two-ton gorilla in the room. They looked at what the other "firsts" were doing -- both right and wrong, and improved upon it.

And not only does this mean improving on the product or service it also means improving on the marketing.

If you are second you're in a fabulous position to analyze what the "first" did and see how you can improve it to solidify your position in the marketplace. And if you do this right, you may have your own opportunity to be "first" -- and reap the benefits without taking as much of the risks, which I cover in the next reason.

3. You have the opportunity to put your unique spin on whatever is "first" -- which could make it "first." Let's take coaches. Coaches have been around, well, probably for as long as there were people. I suspect when we were all cavemen we had coaches teaching us better ways to run away from saber tooth tigers and selecting the right berry to gather. But coaches as an entrepreneur industry is a relatively new thing. And the new twists on coaching also can make it feel first, even though the field of coaching is not new.

How this could work in your own business: See what you offer in your business that's a "second" -- is there a way you can put your own stamp on it (maybe combine with something else or approach it with a fresh angle) that could give you the security of knowing there's a market while also letting you be "first" with your own twist? This is the secret to standing out in a crowded marketplace so don't rush into this. Play around with some ideas and test them out to see what you come up with.

Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company that helps entrepreneurs attract more clients, sell more products and services and boost their business. To grab your FREE "Ka-Ching! Business Kit" with a FREE CD visit http://www.MichelePW.com/freecd
 probably be a lot happier if you have a business filled with clients who love how sexy you are.

Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company that helps entrepreneurs attract more clients, sell more products and services and boost their business. To grab your FREE "Ka-Ching! Business Kit" with a FREE CD visit http://www.MichelePW.com/freecd

Michelle Pariza Wacek

Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC

Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company that helps entrepreneurs attract more clients, sell more products and services and boost their business. To grab your FREE "Ka-Ching! Business Kit" with a FREE CD visit http://www.MichelePW.com/freecd