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Don’t blend in

In a world filled with disruption, are you standing out from all the other options out there and receiving your share of the pie, or is your business missing out? If you are worried about the increase of competition within your industry now, then look out, because within the next two years your competitors are likely to increase as Gen Y continues to fearlessly start new business and take more risks. Competition is everywhere – in every industry. Does your business have what it takes to combat a new offer? And while we are at it… where the hell has customer loyalty gone? 

Our mantra at The Factory is ‘don’t blend in’. What we are trying to convey is for businesses to stop the ever-so-tempting desire to follow industry trends, in order to fit in. As young people, we chose to fit in order to be accepted and not be singled out or picked on. We were guided on fashion by celebrities and the cool people on TV. I can’t even begin to tell you how many clothes in my closet were part of some very short-lived fashion trend. If Kylie Minogue wore an off-the-shoulder top, then let me tell you, so did I! Fitting in was about survival. Now that we, who as kids back then wanted nothing more than to be accepted, have grown up to be adults running businesses, we need to realise that we are fighting against an engrained ideal to fit in. Blending in! Hopefully this is making sense.

If only we knew back then as kids, that being different is a wonderful gift. It allows us to easily get noticed and demand immediate attention. Now, we’re not saying go out and do something absolutely crazy in business, but what we are suggesting is that businesses that have the ability to be unique, possibly a bit weird, get noticed and remain memorable. Interesting thing is, every business has unique qualities, you just need to recognise them, or create them, in a way that your customers can’t look past and want more of. 

Now, think of all the amazing brands that you choose as part of your weekly shop. Why do they make it into your trolley? What makes them so special?

There are 101 ways (or more) to differentiate your business from competitors and establish your purpose and fit within your industry. Sometimes the answer is obvious, and other times you need to dig deep and get a little creative. One of the easiest ways to understand your points of difference is to chat to your existing customers. Ask them why they choose you and let’s hope it’s not because you are the cheapest! Competing on price is a really tough game. Your profit margins are going to be smaller forcing you to sell more of whatever it is you can sell to make any sort of decent money. And remember, there will always be someone else out there that will be prepared to sell it cheaper. 

The key to all this investigation into finding and promoting the ways you are different is to not spend too much time focusing on what your competitors are doing. Doing so will take your focus away from your own business and consume valuable time. Instead, hone in on your customers and relish those difficult times when you receive negative feedback. Look beyond the initial feelings you have to your crushed ego, or battered soul and hunt for the real message and reason this complaint may have been initiated. So many lessons can be learnt from these times, and as crushing as they are they can serve great purpose as this gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your processes and fill in any gaps or address any underlying issues. 

We understand that when you are living and breathing inside your business, it can be difficult to see your uniqueness. The first step is to look at your business through someone else’s eyes. Our friendly team would love to get to know you and your business and share your special qualities. 

‘Don’t blend in’ – join the movement with us. 

One of the most important things in business, is establishing your point of difference. Here are a few tips to help you find your uniqueness:

• What are you offering that your competitors don’t?
• Do you offer unique product/service lines that you can’t get anywhere else?
• Do your products last longer, work faster, use less energy or are sustainable?
• Is your business part of a social enterprise?
• Do you have specialist knowledge?
• Do you have a proven track record of success, or are you well known and trusted?
• Do you offer training or a guarantee?
• Can customers easily contact you?
• Do you offer more payment options?
• Do you offer exceptional after sale service?

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