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The black cat strategy: how to stand out from the crowd

Guest blog-post by Nick Wykeman

This blog post sets out the strategy on making the best of your position in securing a job or accelerating in business. It is light-heartedly based on the behaviour of cats.

Energy conservation
Follow the lead of the black cat; carefully consider your situation and do not waste energy. Plan your approach to contacts, your network and your sales pitch. Planning and good execution can mean that you not only avoid wasting energy but also are more effective in getting your message across or achieving your aim.

Positioning is everything
Consider the black cat – it often positions itself in the best place to receive attention, keep warm or collect any fallen tit-bits. Make sure that you are known to the right people so if someone is looking for someone to help them or has a piece of work to give out, you are one of the first they think of. But beware, if you are overpowering you may be seen as begging as with cats you may not get anything – getting the balance right is critical.

Look the part
Black cats use their natural looks – small, furry and sitting in a stylish way to attract attention. So should you; I do not mean wearing something outrageous but dressing stylishly in a businesslike manner. Make sure that you know your audience – in the music industry a trendy bright designer blouse is great but with a bank manager it might indicate that you are a show-off and someone who wastes money.

Pick your prey – specialisation
Black cats pick their prey – they avoid dogs, foxes and other dangerous animals but go after rats and mice. Specialising in areas where they expect to win. Focus on an area where you have a natural advantage and can more easily succeed. It is easy to take the scattergun approach but you most often succeed if you pick certain targets and head for those.
Also don’t take on large organisations unless you are specialising in a small segment as you will not be able to outperform them. A corner shop can beat the supermarket due to distance from market and opening hours.

Show your claws – defend your territory
The black cat protects its territory; in business this is also important. I am not suggesting fighting physically but ensuring that your presence is strong enough that others do not consider setting up in direct competition in your area. This can be achieved by your presence – via Social media and by ensuring that you have contacted all the major players that could give you business in your area. Finally, create customer loyalty via your quality of service and personal contact to ensure that you do not lose out to a new competitor.

Keep an open mind
The black cat always keeps an open mind; he is loyal up to a point. However, if he does not get enough attention or food he can move elsewhere. You should do the same; if your area of business does not attract the right levels of business after a period of time, it may be time to change market or ideas. Always keep your eyes open as sometimes while you are busy on one business something passes by that makes you think.

Fluffy but with claws
The black cat is always a combination of soft warm fur and claws. As any child knows, a cat can be very friendly up to a point but if you tease or pull its tail it will retaliate. It is important in business that you do not allow your customers to exploit you. Service is important but not to the extent where you do everything but receive only small orders in return – the relationship should be give and take and should include mutual respect.

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