How to differentiate your business

4 Apr, 2018

How to differentiate your business in a sea of same-old ideas

We’ve all been there. You’re so excited about a new business idea you could pop. That’s until a Google search deflates your zeal with scores of similar ideas? What you thought was original, is nothing more than a done-before flash of brilliance just a little too late. You have missed the bus. Or have you?

Embrace the facts
The concept of simultaneous invention proposes that most discoveries are made independently by multiple inventors pretty much at the same time. It suggests that similar ideas arise through the crossing and influencing of pre-existing facts and concepts. This phenomenon is on the rise as the Internet exposes more people to the same facts.

By no means does this imply that you have missed the bus. It simply suggests that there are alternative routes. Instead of chasing novel ideas, look at existing ideas differently, find the gap and fill it.

Here are 5 ways to differentiate your business:

  • Get your data ducks in a row
    If you haven’t already moved away from inefficient paper-based systems, do it now. Data is the lifeblood of an organisation and key to differentiation is turning data into usable and competitive insights. Learn to analyse data in new and creative ways to put you ahead of the rest. Organise your data to enable quick and easy cross-channel analytics. Use Managed Document Solutions to tackle the big data conundrum and turn scattered paper-based facts into competitive insights. Use the analytics tools available to you to find and validate new ideas.
  • Harness the efforts of competitors
    Instead of shying away from a competitive landscape, look at how your idea can appeal to the existing market. Use your competitors as a benchmark, what they do well and where they fall short, to shape your ideas into superior solutions. Differentiation lies in the undiscovered market gaps and satisfying unfulfilled needs.
  • Identify consumer pain points
    Connect with your competitors’ online communities to discover their wants, likes and frustrations with the products they’re currently buying. Make a list of your competitors and their unique selling propositions (USPs). Start following competitors’ followers and try to discover how your business idea can be tailored to take care of their pain points.
  • Fine-tune your USP
    To be memorable, you need an alluring value proposition that fosters an emotional brand connection. Competing on price alone is a recipe for “me-too” mediocrity. Transform your idea into a clear-cut marketable benefit with claims no other company can make. If you don’t have a differentiating factor, invent one but always keep it rooted in a value proposition that meets a compelling consumer need.
  • Strike when the iron is hot
    It’s important to know when an idea is worth pursuing. Some ideas are seasonal and time-sensitive while others can secure you a solid first-move advantage. Keep your ear to the ground for changing consumer sentiments rather than just industry fundamentals.

True eureka moments are few and far between but compelling ideas can come from anywhere. If you change your perspective, the idea itself often changes. Take the first step by changing your point of view. Relying on industry trends to spark new ideas often leads to competitors coming to the same conclusions.

Avoid getting stuck in the comfort zones of tried-and-tested methods. Instead, look for inspiration in unrelated industries. Consumers are always on the lookout for new experiences. To meet this need, step out and try new things for yourself first.

If your ideas feel like a copy and paste version of someone else’s brainchild, consider these words:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesise new things.” – Steve Jobs