What makes your customer choose you?
That is question of functionality. That shows how you are beneficial to them. But that’s not necessary explaining how long will they stay with you in the future. That’s not a question about sustainability.
What makes you differ from others in the same business? What makes you stood out in people’s mind? not only know, but also in the future?
Those are questions around sustainability.
Sustainability is about distinction. It is about your future brand investment. It is about your value for the future. To sustain, you have to have a distinctive value for those who benefits from you. Your value determine how they need you. What makes it even more interesting, this is how you get benefit from them. If they need you, then more likely your value will increase…..as long as there are not so many other possess the same value. If your value is distinctive, which basically means you are unique and almost irreplaceable, you are sustainable.
So, as long as we stay the same, and make sure that there will be no one alike, we will sustain? Well, it is not really like that 😉
Stay the same as we are might as well risk our capacity to sustain. World changes. Time flies. Things happened. One thing come after another. These are common laws of life. If we are honest to ourselves, we will acknowledge, nothing ever stay the same. Some say that many things change, but there are few things that stay the same. I agree. Still, the way we relate to those few ‘eternal’ things are more likely change from time to time. Our life reality is an eternal change.
Hence, stay the same as who we are is just bad way to adjust with this eternal change. Life requires us to continuously adjusting. In life, everything is temporary. That’s why there are plenty possibilities in life. Change and possibility is inherent in this chain of temporary events. Sustainable means staying adaptive in this sequence. Sustainable means continuously change for adaptation. Sustainable means continuously adjusting.
That’s it. Ongoing adjustment is our way to survive and sustain. What about distinctiveness? It is about our personal touch. It is about how we can be personally noticeable through our ways of adjusting. Some people just adapting and adjusting without personal stand and self determination. We call them plain opportunists who seeks only for survival and result without dignity. Being distinctive is the opposite of being an opportunist. Being distinctive is showing that we adjust and adapt in our own and personal style.
Let’s use the currently popular triple bottom-lines sustainable development model. In this model, sustainable economy is defined through three major indicators: economic, society and environment. Despite all arguments on its effectiveness, there is a reason why this model is popular. That reason is about how development is constructed as a measure to increase welfare through three dimensions: economic progress, societal progress, and environmental progress. This model promise a distinctive value: A hope that our economy will not only enhance our welfare for the sake of business growth only, but also improving it through societal and economic measures. In other way of saying, this model shows that we can have an economic development that creates money, better social condition and better environment. The distinction of this model is in the way we run the economy.
I think the same requirement is applied in ourselves, as well in our businesses. The way we do the business, the way we adapt to changes, and the way we differ to others; that is our distinction. It tells people what will they get when they have us, and what will be inexistent without us.
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