Standing Out Means Doing Something Different

Everyone wants their business, their product, their plan to be perfect. And why wouldn’t you? In today’s online marketplace you’re competing against every other person who has the same ideas as you. I could find twenty sellers for a custom, handmade leather wallet with the logo from my favorite movie or game on it, and I could find them within literally minutes. With that kind of competition, you need to stand out by having the absolute best product, so everything needs to be perfect, right?

Almost, but mostly no.

First of all, you shouldn’t be selling or doing the same thing everyone else is. Let’s say your local bakery has been in business for 20 years. You open up a bakery across the street, selling the same items for the same prices, with the same degree of customer service. Nobody’s going to come to your shop. Why should they? It’s the same thing, but they’re already comfortable with their current service. If you want to stand out, you need to do something different. Walmart rocked the world with lower prices. Amazon is ushering in an entirely new era of shopping because they offer more convenient than any other brand in history (with an astonishing 43 percent of online sales in 2016, and growing). On a micro level, that’s what you need for your brand to survive.

Every city has dry-cleaners. How many cities have dry-cleaners that will pick up and drop off your clothes? Could your restaurant edge out the competition by having a friendlier staff that makes a fancy show of mixing your customer’s drinks by the table side? What if your insurance agency sent out more thank you notes than bills? These are the kinds of things that can grow your business in today’s economy.

There’s an old saying that you can only get two of three things; fast, good, or cheap. You can tilt those metrics in your favor by being clever or marketing yourself well, but that’s always going to have some truth to it. A t-bone steak costs more than a pork chop, but most folks argee it’s a better meat. So find out what angle your competition is taking, and go in another direction. There’s room for fast food and dine-in, motels and hotels, custom and mass produced. “Perfection” is an ideal to strive towards, but not something you ever reach. “Perfect for a particular audience” is where you want to be. Figure out something that sets you apart, and double down on that.

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