For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated — I mean absolutely hated — pumpkin pie. But I haven’t wanted to hate it.

I love pumpkin.
I love cinnamon.
I love the yummy, flaky crust.

And every Thanksgiving, when the rest of my family is chowing down on their delicious-looking pie with a heaping dollop of whipped cream on top, I’m envious. So much so that I inevitably end up taking a bite of someone else’s slice to see if maybe I’ve finally acquired a taste for the stuff.

Nope! Still don’t like it.

Not at least until one day back when I was working at a large defense company. It was the annual “Thanksgiving lunch” in the company cafeteria. (If this brings back childhood memories of Thanksgiving-themed school lunches, then you’re on the right track.)

Anyway, as part of the lunch, everyone got a slice of pumpkin pie. It was already included in the price, so how could I pass it up? If nothing else, I could eat the whipped cream and the crust, and still get my post-lunch sugar fix.

So there I am, sitting in my second-floor office, eating lunch while responding to emails, when I take a bite of my pumpkin pie. Whoa! This is the best thing I’ve ever tasted!!! It’s DELICIOUS!!! But how could that be???

Just to be sure, I took another bite. And another.

Once I polished it off, I immediately went down the hall to share my good news with my coworkers. As you can imagine, they weren’t all that interested in hearing about my revelation that I finally liked pumpkin pie.

But a few of them did raise a curious point: How was it that among all the pumpkin pies in the world, it would be the one served by the company cafeteria that I’d suddenly like.

Hmmph. Curious indeed.

So the next day I went back to the company cafeteria to grab another piece of that pie. As I was on my way out, I stopped to talk to a colleague when I took a big bite of my pie.

ICK! It was horrible — just like I had remembered pumpkin pie.

Well. This simply wasn’t going to do. So I marched back to the cafeteria line to discuss this issue with the always-friendly, always-helpful cafeteria cashier lady.

(Yes. I’m being sarcastic. )

But I will give her this: She immediately got to the bottom of the issue!

In case you haven’t figured out the punch line of where this is going yet, I’ll finally get to the point.

What I had eaten the day before was NOT pumpkin pie. Oh no. It was SWEET POTATO PIE!

What!!!??? I didn’t even know there was such a thing as sweet potato pie!

My head was spinning with questions. How did I not know about sweet potato pie? Did everyone else know about it? If they did know about it, why had they never told me how delicious it was? Why had no one in my family ever made it? Or bought it?

If you think I’m kidding, I’m not.

It was as if the world had been conspiring to hide something as scrumptious as chocolate from me my entire life. (My poor coworkers had to hear me go on about this for at least a week.)

So why am I telling you all this?

Because all these years, I’m quite sure the sweet potato pie was sitting there on the bakery shelves right next to the pumpkin pies — the pumpkin pies that I never paid much attention to because I didn’t like them.

So I never noticed the other, similar-looking choice. And because no one in my family ever made one or bought one, sweet potato pies weren’t even on my radar.

I’m sure this seems like a big “to do” all about pumpkin pie versus sweet potato pie. But if you’re not attracting enough clients to your business right now, you just may need to ask yourself if your ideal target market thinks your pumpkin pie, when really you’re the completely different sweet potato pie that they would love!

Think about it. There they are at the supermarket. Desperately in need of an alternative dessert for Thanksgiving dinner — and they don’t even know about you because you look so similar to the other choice.

It’s a big problem that a lot of small business owners face. Whether because of copycat marketing or because they’re just not sure what makes them special, they look and sound like everyone else out there even if in reality they are very special indeed.

If you don’t have enough PROSPECTS coming to you on a regular basis, then this is an area I really encourage you to give some thought to.

And if you find that maybe this is an issue for you, here’s a quick recipe on how you can start to fix this problem.

Get REAL clear on what makes your services/products/business unique. Make a list. On paper. If you’re not sure, go ask your current or former clients.

Have someone other than you review your marketing materials (your website, your brochures, your business cards, etc.) and ask them — based ONLY on what they read and see what they think makes you different or unique.

Identify and rectify the gaps. Make sure your uniqueness and the desire you fill explicitly CLEAR in your marketing. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t wait for people to have to read your entire site and figure it out for themselves. Tell them!!!

Find at least five places where your ideal clients are. Armed with your new marketing clarity, go there. Tell them about what you do and what makes you different from everyone else out there. Refine as you go.

Come home. Congratulate yourself. Have a piece of pie.

Author's Bio: 

Known as The Corporate Agent, Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR, teaches micro business owners and solopreneurs around the world how to grow their small business by working with Big Business. Get her FREE CD and articles at www.TheCorporateAgent.com.