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Turn Debits to Credit
by Steven D. Strauss

You're young, you're new and you need customers, but you've got the idea that it's going to be tough competing against companies with a proven track record.

Well as Sportin' Life says: "It ain't necessarily so." What you perceive as a disadvantage is just that, a perception. Turning those liabilities into assets is not only possible, it's also smart business.

Your job is to let potential customers know that they will get a lot more from you just because you are new.

They will get better, more personal service. Because you have fewer customers, you are freed up to spend more time and energy on the ones you do have.

Because you are keen to keep the business you get, anyone who signs up with you is going to benefit from your ambition to prove yourself, do a great job, keep the customer happy and set yourself up as far and away the better business to deal with.

And you will under-price the competition. You're new and you need customers, so if you aren't already undercutting your rivals, you should be.

Think smart and any perceived business shortcoming can be turned to your advantage.

When Ronald Reagan was running for re-election against the much younger Walter Mondale in 1984, the incumbent looked and sounded like an old man at their first presidential debate.

The buzz was that if he didn't do dramatically better the second time around, he might lose the election.

Came time for the second debate and everyone was watching the 72-year-old president closely. Soon after the debate began, Reagan took the initiative and broached the subject. He acknowledges that age was an issue in the campaign and then jokingly promised not to "exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

With that quip, Reagan turned his disadvantage into an advantage, the issue never again came up, and he walked off with the election.

So that is what you have to do. If you are able to turn your "liabilities" into assets, you are halfway home to entrepreneurial success.

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