In a sea of competing products and businesses, if you don’t stand out and show off your uniqueness – what makes you different from all the others – you’re simply not giving your business the best chance of success, writes entrepreneur and global marketing expert, Katrina McCarter.
I grew up with a single mum called Helen who taught me many things. One is a strategy which has become one of my top ways to market with no money: be bold, because being a cookie-cutter business costs you.
Helen was determined to teach me the value of money. She wanted to raise a financially independent daughter. So she had me working from age 12. Every day after school I walked to the local golf course and picked balls up off the fairway for $2.
When I started high school, Helen ramped it up: time to learn about money management, forecasting and cash flows. Each high school term I had to submit a report with all my projected expenses – uniforms, school books, excursions, pocket money, ice cream with friends …
Helen reviewed my budget submission and if it was accepted she’d hand over the money. I was then solely responsible for managing all the term’s expenses. If I ran out of cash and missed a camp or needed school shoes, it was on me.
As an adult, the value in how I was raised is dual: I learned how to make and manage money, but I also learned that there is enormous benefit in doing things differently. In being bold. In seeing the value in your unique story and refusing to be like every other individual or business.
Why your business needs to stand out
Why would a business want to amplify its differences? Because in a sea of ‘same-same’, it’s hard to be discovered by prospective clients and customers.
You don’t stand out. And when prospective clients do see your advertising or promotional material, you’re perceived as delivering the same as everyone else. Your service becomes commoditised and distinguishing between two different brands comes down to price.
If you’re going to be the most expensive in your industry, then you must find and highlight your difference. Find your ‘Helen’, your difference, and position your business on it.
Listen to Katrina McCarter on the Flying Solo podcast:
How to identify your differences
Starting is easier than you think. Grab some paper and write down all the things that set you apart and make your business unique or different from others. Consider the methodology you use, the skill set of your team, the way you approach a client’s problem, the time it takes you to get the desired result.
If you can’t come up with anything that makes your company different, then great, your pressing task is to create some difference.
For anyone who can not just identify their differences but can confirm their clients value these things, also great. Your top priority is to actively communicate your differences to the market.
My mum Helen taught me that our differences make us special. She showed me that there is little value in being like everybody else, because hiding in plain sight gets nobody anywhere with prospective and current clients. Or in life, if I’m honest.
In business, people choose us for our differences. It’s our job as business owners to uncover these differences, ensure they are valued by our client base and then amplify them. Only then can we realise our true value and become the most expensive business in our industry.
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