The Old Ribbon on the Suitcase Trick!

Last Updated Sep 30, 2008 6:08 PM EDT

You are standing there, watching the sea of black suitcases go around the baggage carousel. Then suddenly you spot it.

Tied in a multitude of knots, around the handle, is the yellow ribbon, signifying "my suitcase". You instantly pick it up, knowing that you have the right bag.

Often it is just the way it is tied or located. It could be the type of ribbon or, in my case, one of my husband's neckties, ceremoniously cut up. It is amazing how one little point of difference can stand out and instantly help you claim your luggage.

Alternatively, to stand out in an ocean of black suitcases, you could always buy a hot pink or bright orange suitcase --- take yourself out of the black ocean completely!

You can apply the same strategy to help your business stand out.

Kim and Mauborgne, in their book Blue Ocean Strategy, recommend that you get out of the red ocean (the known market space, where cutthroat competition turns the ocean blood red) and enter the blue ocean of deeper, clearer water --- where demand is created rather than fought over.

The key is value innovation --- something that creates simultaneous value for you and the company.

Take 30 seconds to ponder "What point of difference can I apply in my life/business?"

"Where can I use the old 'ribbon on the suitcase' trick?"

  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (, the Australian online community for solo business owners.