I grew up around farming. My family didn't own a farm, but we were surrounded by them. I spent MANY hours working on farms as a boy - starting at the age of 12 (when no one else would, or could, hire me). Between repairing buildings and fences, milking cows, and "haying", believe me - I've got stories! It was HARD work, but it made me appreciate many things in life. After my first season of working on a local farm I was able to buy a brand new 10-speed bicycle - all the rage in 1972!
Living in Central New York, I remain surrounded by farming. Did you know that New York State is the USA's 3rd-largest dairy producing state? I really enjoy this lifestyle and appreciate what our farmers do for us. Bottom line, I like to eat. Therefore, I LOVE farmers! I hope your logic leads you to the same conclusion.
Here is a photo of yours truly in a cornfield, right across the road from Indium Corporation HQ in Clinton, NY. (Sorry about the serious look - I was watching a ton of ants scaling my camera.) It was taken today - June 1st, 2012. Notice anything unusual? This corn is TALL! About one-foot tall already. And there is something else that you can't see - it is growing really fast.
The slogan, "knee high by the fourth of July," is more than just a saying, it is a guide - a benchmark to help farmers gauge whether or not they are on the proper timeline. I predict that this corn will be knee high by June 20th. Way ahead of schedule.
In my area there are a few corn fields that are this tall, but most are "average". When I asked a farmer about their "average" corn she told me she had planted at the usual time. I know that the farmer across the road from my office planted early. He was enabled by two things:
- our unusually warm and early Spring
- his being prepared to go as soon as possible
If a farmer plants too early she risks the chance of the entire crop being damaged by frost. So, these early birds take a risk. But, if it works out, they are rewarded with flexibility and a little more control over their busy harvest schedule later in the season. This is highly valuable at a time when many crops are ready for harvest at the same time.
Bringing me to B2B Marcom. We've got to constantly survey our situations for opportunities. While it is important to maintain schedules and to know what is "normal" in our worlds, we can make magic happen if we are vigilant about seeking opportunities. We've all got "routines", such as editorial calendars, trade show timelines, and advertising schedules - but it is precisely their very regimentation that lulls us into complacency - and into "normalcy" - and into being average. Remember, we don't get paid to be average. We've got to OUTPERFORM our competitors if we are to grow, thrive, and distinguish ourselves.
So, look for routines. Seek their value and their beauty. But, also look them over for opportunities to break patterns, to change things up to your advantage when possible. Your average competitor's corn will likely always be knee high by the fourth of July. Yours might just be different - in just the way you want it to be different - if you are prepared and seize the moment when it presents itself.