Consider the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, they are both rich, successful and, most importantly, fundamentally different from everybody else.
There’s a very good reason why the weird geeky kids in high schools across the world often go on to make a fortune: namely because it pays to be different. Think about it, in today’s world, even if you are one in a million, there are statistically 7000 people exactly like you.
The exact same principle applies through to running a small business. So, as an entrepreneur, how can you banish the generic business practices employed by most of your competitors and ultimately reap the rewards that come with offering something unique?
The feeling of being hustled is not one soon forgotten. With this in mind, it is fundamentally important that your customers feel they are getting a bargain by using your services. So, if your customer is expecting a 100% job, be sure to go over and above this figure by offering 110%. Although this may be hard work, it is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most effective way to build up a loyal customer base and beat out your competitors.
As an entrepreneur, it’s key to think of your customers as individuals with unique wants and needs rather than as a faceless mass ripe for exploiting. Customers are self-interested by nature and if your business can’t offer them exactly what they’re looking for, don’t be surprised if they go elsewhere. However, you also shouldn’t be afraid to offer your customers advice; at worst they’ll appreciate the thought and, at best, you could score yourself a customer for life! In short, treat your customers like human beings and they’ll keep coming back.
Don’t Lower Your Price!
It’s important to remember and be in the fact that your product or service is better than your competitor’s. A great way to signal this to potential customers is to price the good at what it’s actually worth. So, if your direct competitor lowers their price, don’t run head long into a price war like the rest of your competition but rather differentiate yourself. Stand out by holding your price, confident in the fact that your customers will realise that your product and the service you offer represent value for money. Remember, when it comes to profit, setting a low price is akin to eating soup with a fork: a lot of effort for very little reward.
Define a Target Market
In terms of oneself, entrepreneurs should, from the very beginning, define a set market or demographic to target. Too many businesses try to boost their profits by catering to multiple markets, which renders the business not only stretched, but also exceedingly generic. In the same way that the best sports stars in the world only focus on their one respective sport, your business should specialise and become the leader in one field. Remember, rather be great at one thing than average at everything!
As an entrepreneur, you would have to be beyond optimistic (read delusional) to believe that you can dominate your market by offering a generic service. The saying goes, ‘If you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got’, so, next time you reach a fork in the road, remember to take the path less traveled.