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5 Simple But Overlooked Ways to Stand Out From Your Competition

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how to stand out in business

You’re an entrepreneur. You’re working on your side-hustle aspiring to be one soon. You’re a dream chaser who thrives on freedom. But what makes you different from the thousands of other entrepreneurs launching their businesses with a laptop and an internet connection?

While the title and the aspirations behind wanting to be an entrepreneur may be the same, no two entrepreneurs are equal. How do you separate yourself from the pack? How do you become a smart entrepreneur in today’s crowded marketplace?

Here are 5 ways to be a stand out entrepreneur:

1. Don’t be the hero of your story

You’re crazy about your product or service. It may be ‘one-of-a-kind’ and get your customer from A to Z in half the time. As fabulous as it is, stop tooting your own horn. Don’t play the hero who’s waiting to swoop in to rescue your customer.

Donald Miller, Founder of Story Brand says ,“Your brand is not the hero of the story, your customer is. When your brand stops playing the hero and starts playing the role of the guide in your customer’s story, you’ll see dramatic results.

Articulate the value of your brand and products by keeping your customer or client at the center of it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why does the customer need your product? Reflect the customer’s challenges or desires back to him.
  2. How will it work? Describe the change the product will create. Every product or service has to create a change in your customer. E.g. From scared and intimidated to confident and in control. From overwhelmed and desperate to relaxed and stress-free
  3. What exactly does your product or service do? Finish with the facts. This is where you bring your customer full-circle and let them know about the benefits and features of your product.

This is a simple formula you can use for your product descriptions and sales and landing pages.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

2. Be an entrepreneur who makes money in their sleep

Those were the words of Richard Branson. Because that’s the dream right? To live the laptop lifestyle. To post pictures from Krabi or Phuket. To work in your pyjamas and bunny slippers from home.

But in reality, most entrepreneurs are freelancers or one-person run companies. They think that working for themselves means being an entrepreneur. They trade time for money.

But this is a model that won’t sustain itself over the long run. If you cut down your hours, you cut down your revenue. If you have sick days, your work suffers.

Your business depends on you for its survival. There’s no denying that most entrepreneurs start off with this model. It’s a necessity when you’re still trying to find your footing.

But smart entrepreneurs don’t get stuck in the ‘time for money’ wheel of trade. They have a vision of how to break out of the cycle and make plans to scale. Their vision for their business is bigger than them.

 

3. Determine how much energy you have

We live in a society where asking for help is a sign of weakness and being busy and doing everything yourself is a status symbol. You’re no less of an entrepreneur by getting help. There is no shame in outsourcing elements of your business.

You don’t have to keep ‘crushing it’. Ask yourself:How much time and energy do you really have? And what do you want to do in those hours?

When you know the size of your energy basket and the size of your tasks, you find that it’s easier to choose what to do and what not to do. You become aware that saying yes to one task means saying no to something else.

Have a clear picture of tasks that grow your business and tasks that maintain your business. Once you get clear on these, determine what your major time drains are.

These are most likely business maintenance tasks like bookkeeping or website fixes. See if you can outsource these so that you have time to work on tasks that grow your business. Smart entrepreneurs are aware of their limits. They know when to step back and get help.

 

4. Focus on being different, not better than your competitors

Be different because you’ll never be better. Once you start to compete on ‘better’, you’ll have to add features and benefits to stay in the race. When everyone starts to compete on these, it boils down to who can offer the cheapest price.

The marketplace is flooded with similar products. Just have a look at the number of courses helping you build a profitable blog.

Start analyzing your competitors and gaps in the marketplace and try to find a way to be different. Smart entrepreneurs know how to position themselves in an already crowded marketplace.

“It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.” – Hans Hansen

5. Sell promises

Your brand is not so much what you say it is, as what your customer says it is. What story do they tell themselves by consuming your products and services?

It’s the perception of your brand in their mind that makes them listen to you or buy from you.

People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold to. And when they do buy, they buy because of the identity your brand gives them. The promise your brand offer gives.

Brand story strategist Bernadette Jiwa says “Because people don’t want to ‘do’ they want to ‘be’. They want to be less busy and more productive, less alone and more connected, less fearful and feel more safe.” Smart entrepreneurs sell promises rather than features and benefits.

Let these points guide you in your business. Align yourself with the true definition of who an entrepreneur is. Because once you do that, you’ll be unstoppable. You’ll be a stand-out entrepreneur.

What do you currently do to stand out from businesses in your industry? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Meera Kothand is a certified email marketing specialist, blogger and a self-professed email nerd. She blogs over at MeeraKothand.Com where she helps bloggers and solopreneurs create authentic blogs and businesses minus the sleaze to build an unmissable online presence and to make an impact online? Click here to get started.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Alice Miriam Andreat

    Mar 21, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Meera! Great tips! I believe in abundance over competition, so #4 speaks to me!

  2. Abdulwasii Ilyas

    Jan 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I know I can’t be better than any anyone. So, first I try to be me and then regularly improve on that to become a better version of “me”.

  3. SYLVESTER IKECHUKWU

    Jan 12, 2017 at 11:53 am

    It’s a mind-blowing write-up,As for me and my co-founders ,we did take the disadvantages of our forecast competitors turning them into our Advantages ,thereby taking off being our competitors to been different from them and what they do…i.e.Tradetack.com on e-commerce services…especially in africa.

  4. ROGER

    Dec 26, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Intriguing. ROGER

  5. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Hey Meera,

    Fantastic advice contained in this brand strategy/differentiation article! The main takeaway I got is demonstrating the ideal customer and how they get the huge benefits (promises) out of what you’re selling.

    Too many people focus on image ads, and even large corporations simply put ads in front of people that have no call to action or time-constraint. This is why I’ve learned so much about direct response and I see it as a very longevity-focused business strategy.

    Thanks for the gold nuggets and actionable points you provided

    – Evan

  6. Meera

    Jun 3, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Tim, absolutely! And that’s something I learnt the hard way. I think almost everyone starts off wanting to be better. And passive income….it takes a lot of work to put in place those funnels and systems but it’s well worth the time and effort to start off on the right foot. Thanks so much for your comment Tim!

  7. Yury Gerasimchuk

    Jun 3, 2016 at 1:15 am

    great article! very thoughtful points

    • Meera

      Jun 5, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Glad you enjoyed it Yury!

  8. Tim Denning

    Jun 3, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Meera thank you for sharing your advice. There were so good thought- provoking points you mentioned. Passive income as the single biggest way to build your income. Your last point makes a lot of sense. Trying to be better than your competitors can be hard so being different seems much easier.

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