I love reading Harvey Mackay's books. What continually amazes me about the man who wrote such books as Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt is that he is realistic about his business. In case you don't know, Harvey Mackay owns an envelope company. He knows that envelopes are one of the least trendy, least sexy items on the market. He knows that they aren't going to invent a better envelope any time soon. And he knows that profit margins on envelopes are razor thin. So without trends or a “new and improved” envelope or price cutting deals, he's still got to move envelopes… and he's got to compete with other envelope manufacturers who have the same issues. He's got to find some other way to it. One of those ways is service.

I talk a lot about differentiation in my blog and Harvey understands it and practices it in his business: he can't differentiate his envelopes… so he MUST differentiate his service or else he'll be out of business.

If you're faced with a similar problem: too similar products to your competition with few options to do anything about it, look to your service as a way to set yourself apart.