The old cereal commercials from the 70’s and 80’s were good for a lot more than just laying the groundwork for generations of juvenile diabetes. There was actually some good stuff in there… and I’m not just talking about that whole “fortified with vitamins and minerals” trick. If you were able to dig a little deeper, past the crummy little toy at the bottom of the box, there was a wealth of knowledge that they were trying to teach us.
In case you missed it due to the sugar coma you were in at the time, allow me to refresh your memory…
1. Take risks
While his two brothers were just pushing the cereal bowl back and forth looking for someone to step up, it was Mikey that strapped on his big boy pants and gave Life Cereal a shot. He took a risk. Good thing too. He liked it! His reward? Aside from the sheer deliciousness of a big bowl of Life Cereal, Mikey hit the big time! As far as cereal celebrities go anyway. His brothers? Not so much. Are you taking risks when it comes to your business? You should. Be exceptional! Do the things that scare everyone else around you and see what happens!
2. Do whatever it takes
Silly rabbit? Really? I don’t think so. Committed rabbit is more like it. That Trix rabbit would not give up under any circumstances. He would dress up, jump out of a moving plane, fly into space and pretty much do anything he could at the chance of getting his grubby little paws on a spoonful of Trix. Just a spoonful!! Imagine what he would do for the entire box! Are you that committed? How many times do you have to hear “no” before you give up? Once? Twice? The correct answer is “however many times it takes to either get a purchase order or a restraining order.”
3. Be confident
Have you ever heard Tony the Tiger say “They’re Prrrrrretty Good!” when he talked about Frosted Flakes? No. Tony always threw his hand (technically his paw) up in the air and roared “They’re Grrrrrreat!” And you know he meant it. Just look at all of the “r’s” he used in “Grrrrrreat!” Are you that confident in your business? When you walk into a meeting are you hopeful you will sell something or are you positive you will? Your closing rate is in direct proportion to your level of confidence. Try it!
4. Always maintain your integrity
I’m all for having cookies for breakfast (unless my kids are reading this in which case it’s an awful idea). But is it worth risking your freedom over it? I’m thinking no. Ask the Cookie Crisp Crook and apparently it’s a resounding yes. That little creep has no integrity. Not for nothing, but they don’t even taste like real cookies! Yet he is willing to throw it all away. Very sad. Are you willing to do anything to grow your business? Your integrity is your most valuable asset. In fact, there may come a time when it’s all you have. And yet that will be enough. Don’t just give it away.
5. Make yourself heard
No one could hold a conversation better than good ole Snap, Crackle and Pop from Rice Krispies. Say what you want about them, but they weren’t shy. They made their presence known (as soon as they were hit with milk anyway). Do you make yourself known when you walk into a room? Or do you sit back and wait for people to come up to you? There is no being shy in business. If you are in a room full of people you don’t know, your job is not to leave until every one of them knows you.
6. Follow your intuition
Toucan Sam had it right. Follow your nose, it always knows. Whenever he did that he always found himself amongst a big bowl of Froot Loops exactly as planned. And that’s in the jungle where it’s really tough to find stuff like that! It’s not like the supermarket where they post the contents of each aisle! How is your intuition? When you get that gut feeling do you pay attention to it or do you just ignore it and regret it later? Stop asking questions and doubting yourself and start listening even if it’s a little scary!
7. Add value
You didn’t just get a scoop of raisins in each box of Raisin Bran. No. That would be like everyone else. Instead, you got two scoops. And by the looks of things they were pretty big scoops! In fact, the sun was always talking smack about it… and rightfully so. Raisin Bran had something different to offer and they weren’t afraid to brag about the added value. Is this world a little bit better because you were here? If not, you aren’t adding enough value. And if you aren’t adding enough value to prospects and clients you can bet that your competitors are!
8. Build a personal brand
Mr. T + Anything = Awesome. Including cereal. That’s because back in the 80’s he had an airtight personal brand. Think about it. The guy wore 35 pounds of gold chains and had a Mohawk long before it was cool to parade your 8 year old kid around with one. Yet he could still pull off the front of a cereal box filled with little T’s. Do you have a personal brand or are you just another business owner or employee? Regardless of whether you own the business or not you need to build your personal brand. It’s what is going to make you stand out from everyone else and is one of the best ways to add value to your company.
9. Grab attention
The Cocoa Puffs bird or whatever that thing was always went nuts over the slightest taste of Cocoa Puffs. Not just “awkward” nuts. We’re talking “bouncing off the walls and breaking stuff” nuts. It didn’t matter. He got everyone’s attention. That’s what mattered. What are you willing to do to stand out from everyone else and grab attention? Sometimes you just need to stand on a chair in front of a room full of stuffy business folks and belt out a song. I know it’s uncomfortable. If you want to be noticed, you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable!
10. Protect yourself
It didn’t matter what he did, those damn kids were always after his Lucky Charms. Personally, I didn’t find them magically delicious but that’s irrelevant. The little guy did his best to hide them from everyone but in the end the kids always got the better of him. Are you protecting yourself and your business? I’m not talking about getting a good lock on the door. I’m talking about protecting yourself from the crazies. That could mean competitors, employees or even clients! When you cast out a big net you are bound to end up catching a few spare tires and shopping carts. Protect yourself from them. Don’t let anyone get so close that they are able to affect you in any negative way.
11. Make them an offer they can’t refuse
Cheerios were always pretty bland. To kids anyway. So when they came out with Honey Nut Cheerios, which were basically just sugar coated Cheerios but made to sound healthy, their little mascot would fly around shooting his mouth off about how he wanted to “tempt your tummy with the taste of nuts and honey.” He had an offer that no kid or parent could refuse. Cheerios good. Sugar good. Everyone wins. What is your offer? Is it good enough that you are going to tempt prospects into jumping on board? Make sure your offer is crystal clear and extremely valuable to prospects. You aren’t the only fish in the pond so offer the best you have!
12. Change it up
Personally, I always felt like Cap’n Crunch was nothing but a troublemaker. He was either stealing kids away from school or showing up on his ship and messing things up. Let’s not even talk about what it did to the roof of your mouth. You could look past all of that because he was always changing things up and keeping it interesting. You had regular Cap’n Crunch, Cinnamin, Peanut Butter, Crunch Berries and on and on. When is the last time you changed up your products or services? One slight change can make all of the difference in the world. Sometimes it’s just about perceived value and a little change in packaging, wording, title, etc. can do it!
So the next time you are at a crossroads with your business and you are unsure about what to do, head over to aisle 4 in your local grocery store. With a little help from your sugary friends you just might find the right answer!
Featured image courtesy of willyk licensed via Creative Commons.
I should warn you. I am not a Guru, Jedi, Rock Star or a Ninja. I'm just a guy that knows an awful lot about a bunch of stuff and I like to tell stories about it on my blog. I tend to write mostly about social media, Internet Marketing, SEO, blogging, life, business and the fuzzy stuff in between your toes. I think my stuff is really good. You'll like it…trust me. You should really check it out otherwise I might be highly offended.