Nearly all of the trees on our farm had dropped their leaves by last month except for one maple tree. This one maple tree held on to its leaves like a kid hanging on to his blanket when mom says it has to be washed. Finally it let go of its leaves.

The other trees were gray and looked like sticks. This last maple tree put on a show of color, its green leaves turned yellow, then orange, and red against the mundane backdrop of the woods.

A botanist would say the maple tree’s combination of rainfall, nutrients and sunlight determined its leaf dropping. But it seemed that tree was unique.

Is your business like this maple tree, uniquely displaying its exceptional qualities in a negative world?

Or, does it blindly follow the mundane crowd and join the chorus of negativity?

Here are three areas of your business in which you can stand out and display your best, maple tree characteristics in the New Year:

Balancing business relationships—customers, employees, and vendors—with business tasks is a matter of priorities. Your business exists because of relationships. Yet it exists to do something for and with them.

Wherever you lean on the fulcrum of priorities, make sure you create a healthy balance.

How will you know when you’re in balance in 2012?

Write down your ideal priorities balance and keep it in front of you. Think of it as a mirror to see your priorities reflected back for evaluation.

Core Values
The people with whom you do business know your core values without you ever stating them formally. Your business displays them every day in every way.

Are customers greeted warmly on the phone? As they walk through the door?

Do you authentically speak truth when negotiating?

Can your employees count on you to train and equip them to do well on the job?

Make a list of your core values. Read that list often, preferably every morning, to remind yourself, “This is who I am and how my business operates.” Share the list with others.

Unique Contribution
Odds are there are other businesses in your market that do what you do or something similar, like that maple tree stood beside other trees in a forest.

What is the unique contribution your business makes that causes it to stand out in the company forest in which your customers walk around?

How do you what you do in a manner that attracts positive people—customers, employees, suppliers?

If we surveyed your market and asked them for the first word that pops into their mind when they hear your business name, what would they say?

Be unique.

Avoid the herd mentality.

Stand out in your market by choosing your business’ priorities and core values, and doing business out of your unique contribution.

Be a maple tree business.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Joey Faucette is the internationally known author of the #1 Amazon best-seller, Work Positive in a Negative World: Redefine Your Reality & Achieve Your Business Dreams (Entrepreneur Press). He is a professional speaker and coach who has taught business professionals this life-transforming process for over two decades, leading individuals in organizations of every size to achieve amazing results.

He is the founder of Listen to Life, a company that coaches people to redefine their reality and fulfill their business dreams primarily through his online coaching programs, “7 Weeks to Work Positive” and “The Work Positive Master Coaching Program.” He is the host of the syndicated radio show, Listen to Life, writes a syndicated newspaper column of the same name, and blogs from that is read in over 50 countries.

Dr. Joey has appeared as a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows across North America in most major markets. He has written over 500 articles that have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, Wall Street Journal Money Watch, Dallas Morning News, Sacramento Bee,, Yahoo Finance Singapore, and countless other websites.

He and his wife have two adult daughters. They enjoy living on Pleasant Gap Farm with their five yellow Labs, three quarter horses, and one cat—Boo Radley.