Years ago my wife and I lived in Southern California, and we loved it. We were enamored with the mountains, the ocean and, of course, the weather. It was a wonderful place to spend our first few years of marriage. As newlyweds, we lived in a beautiful, fairly new apartment complex just off the 15th fairway of an exclusive golf course. The landscaping was immaculate, and the smell of the freshly mown grass combined with the gentle ocean breezes made our tiny two bedroom apartment seem like paradise.
Everything seemed perfect….on the surface, but after some particularly heavy rains one of the apartment buildings in our complex slipped into a canyon on the golf course. Literally.
The building was built with a poor foundation, and a little adversity caused it to collapse.
To be honest, for years I didn’t even know “differentiator” was a word. In fact, perhaps it’s NOT a word. Even so, it seems to be a buzz term used in many business settings. Its meaning, in a business context, surrounds the notion that there must be something about a company that sets it apart or makes it different. Why is a Chrysler different than a Toyota? Why is a Pepsi different than a Coke? Why is Microsoft different than Apple? Differentiators.
In our industry, there are a lot of really smart people who want to help customers reach their professional and personal goals. They are expertly trained, talented individuals who legitimately want to help customers solve their business problem. But there is a problem…on many occasions their companies are built on the wrong foundation.
A different kind of company.
At OPIN, we look at the genesis of our company and see something different. Our founder and CEO, from the very beginning, outlined a plan to be a different kind of company. A company with virtue, focused on the customer, with a desire to influence the entire industry we represent. We recently gathered OPIN employees together and asked them to explain OPIN’s differentiators. Here are some of the words and phrases we saw:
Humanizing work for our customers
Values that connect
Swift return on investment
Affordable custom solutions
Personalized attention and guidance
Deep care for our clients
Focusing on the client’s felt need, rather than our need
Our customers know us, and know our names – personal connection matters to us!
Troy Austian, an OPIN consultant, shared a story with me regarding a recent discovery call with a potential client. They recounted being sold a product for thousands of dollars that they understood would meet their needs. After the sale, they found it to be over-complicated and felt lied to and “sold a bill of goods”. Now, they’ve been abandoned by the vendor and stuck with a product that they absolutely hate. Troy said, “At OPIN, though it’s never been said directly, if I stuck a client with something like that and took their money without meeting their need, I’d be fired…and I’d expect to be. My job is to bring them value and contribute to their success. If I do that, I’ve been successful doing my part in OPIN’s mission.” Perfect…another reason we love Troy.
OPIN’s commitment to deliver tangible value to a company and to individual people stems from genuine and deeply held values. These are present and obvious in how we operate internally, top to bottom.. It’s who we really are, so it’s naturally the way we must do business. (It’s why we work at OPIN.)
In Troy’s words, “If I deliver value internally, to the company and to my fellow employees, I’ve done my job. If I bring value to our customers, support them in their mission, contribute to people in the process, and bring the value they actually need, I’ve done my job. But more than that, to me personally and to this company, I’ve made the difference I’m here to make.”
We’re not perfect, of course. But at OPIN, it’s our aspiration to be a different kind of company…the kind of company you build a relationship with that brings incredible value to your company, while at the same time, changing the way companies do business. Let’s work together to be a part of building a stable foundation that can withstand even the most difficult storms!