There are really two different sides to your business.

First, there's what I simply call the “inside reality”; and second, there's the “outside perception.”

The inside reality has to do with all the things your business does that actually make it valuable to your customer—from a product, operations and management standpoint. It's what gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It's the instantly recognizable things that make your business great. In other words, it's your “something good to say.”

The reason we call it the inside reality is because there's a good chance that the reality of what you do—the value you offer—isn't necessarily the same as the customer's perception of what you do. You'll find that these two words—reality and perception—are very important to the process of winning in advertising.

The inside reality encompasses everything you do and everything you are that make you good. It's all your skills, your people, your expertise, your service to the customer—before, during, and after the sale—your systems, your operational procedures, your commitment to excellence, your passion and the way you conduct your business.

Now you might think you're actually better than you are or you might not be giving yourself enough credit for the things you do well. But regardless, there is a reality of how valuable you are to the marketplace based on those things I just listed. That's your “something good to say.” That's what we call the inside reality.

If you asked your customers why they buy from you, they could tell you something quantifiable, specific, and instantly obvious. They could point to specific advantages of doing business with you and say, “That's why I do business here, that's why I refer my friends to come here, that's why I'm a loyal customer of this place, that's why I don't mind paying more here, that's why I keep coming back.”

This is what business trainers like Stephen Covey, Tom Peters and Michael Gerber are all about. Innovating your company. Tom Peters calls it the “Pursuit of Wow!”

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Rich Harshaw is the CEO of Dallas, Texas-based Y2Marketing. For more information, visit