We love our business books at JF Financial as we have a passion for understanding what makes businesses successful and we wanted to share with you an excellent book we have read recently called Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison

This book provides some great ideas and case studies on how to make a business special, how to make it stand out in a crowded market place, and how to protect and grow a companies profitability in the long term. It is written by Joe Calloway who is a brand consultant – it is very USA focussed (on businesses such as Harley Davidson and SouthWest Airlines) but the lessons are still relevant for UK small companies.

The “Category of One” is basically referring to how you can make your business stand by itself and not just get lost with other competitors in the marketplace – how to make sure that your ideal customer doesn’t even think about your competitors. Another way to look at it is when someone asks “Why should I do business with you?” you need to have a compelling answer.

Joe suggests that the first step in the process is that you need to define what your business stands for – for the small business owner this means you need to work out why you started your business in the first place, what where you trying to achieve and what kind of business did you want to be running? Once you have worked that out then you are on the first step to differentiating your business.

But what next? Joe suggests the below key 3 steps to becoming a Category of One:

1. Know more about the customer than anyone else.
2. Get closer to the customer than anyone else.
3. Emotionally connect with the customer better than anyone else.

It is this third point, the emotional connection with a customer, that is key throughout the book and one that we would encourage you to think about in your small business.

If you want to get some ideas on how you can increase your companies profitability and create a long lasting differentiated brand we would strongly encourage you to read this book.