For most of us in business today, selling our products and services is one of the greatest challenges we face -- even when we have pretty darn remarkable offerings. After all, most customers have lots of choices, plenty of information, and only so much money to spend. Yet, in our wildest dreams, we fantasize about our ability to create products and services that will literally sell themselves. Products and services that are so unique, so intrinsically valuable, so totally cool, so compelling and so essential to life on the planet that our customers simply can't live without them. Products and services that seem, up to a point, to defy the laws of cost, competition, and even nature.
Yes, these products and services do exist, but they are few and far between. Still we marvel at the brilliance of companies like Apple, Tesla, Airbnb, Under Armour and even Lululemon before we could see through their clothing. Companies that inspire us to think that we, too, might also reinvent our industries in ways that really matter.
So imagine the challenge of trying to sell a product that is not only very old but hasn't really changed much since the time it was invented. And when I say old, I mean really old. Like 3,500 years old. And as for innovation, which most of us assume to be a vital ingredient of business success, the only major change has been its production methods which were initially quite crude and crafted more out of necessity rather than a carefully developed plan.
Then let's add to the equation the simple market reality that most customers only buy this product for seven or eight days a year. And that the folks who buy it represent one of the smallest market segments on earth. Now add to the mix the fact that there are plenty of competitors fighting for this modest market and using the same exact ingredients to make products that few customers would ever suggest was awesome.
Okay, so I'm talking about matzah, a product that is somewhat popular during this spring holiday season. The "bread of affliction." An edible tribute to the exodus from Egypt in roughly the year 1,500 B.C. (or B.C.E.). A staple of the Jewish holiday of Passover that only a limited number of people have been chosen to eat. Sure, anyone could buy it, and you could certainly eat it the rest of year. But let's be serious. In a world filled with freshly-baked bagels, pumpernickel, croissants, brioche, baguettes and even English muffins or Martin's potato rolls, who (in their right mind) would opt for matzah?
And yet, the folks at Yehuda Matzos have somehow managed to be voted Numero Uno in the world of whole wheat matzah. And one taste of their crisp, beautiful and rather ancient-looking treat confirms that they have magically figured out how to turn whole wheat flour and water into a veritable taste sensation. In fact, their matzah is different, and each year compels me to imagine what it must have been like wandering through the desert with Moses hoping only to find a bit of advice from God and an oasis where they sold premium quality peanut butter.
Which leads to one simple idea: No matter what you do, commit to being the best you can be! Because every company, product, service or even individual has the potential to be remarkable in ways that really matter. Even if the heart of your "offerings" is all about authenticity or a certain biblical requirement. The most enduring businesses, offerings and people are the ones that consistently figure this out.