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Competition is about wanting to be the first, while creation is about wanting to be the best – Raphael Oni
With the number of myriad startups saturating your business industry, the only way to remain relevant is to differentiate your business from the rest. Differentiating your business is done with several processes such as the name of your product or service, the type of product or service you provide, the brand of your product or service, the culture surrounding your company and many more. In all ramifications there are reasons why all of these are important to succeed. The philosophy I teach in business is creation and less of the competitive mindset. Creation doesn’t necessarily mean you are not out to compete, but you shouldn’t try to be like another, let others fight to emulate your business. Some entrepreneurs establish businesses just in the same way they have seen others and then they try to compete in the market either by price reduction or aggressive marketing. But I encourage startups to stay highly innovative – looking out for the loop holes in the existing companies and then creating a better option that would provide a better service or product for the market. In this article, we shall be discussing 4 reasons why you must differentiate your business in the market that you operate.
Every product or service needs to be easily identified in a market filled with competitors and substitutes. This is the only way you retain your consumers when they come back for a reuse of your product or service. As an entrepreneur, you don’t want to put your consumers through a difficult time acquiring your service or product. This can be ensured by the name of your product or service, and for the case where there are similar names out in the market, your branding can do a good job to differentiating your product or service.
When you have a very good product in the market, it is expected that some other entrepreneurs will try to create a resemblance so as to benefit from your market share, because they feel your brand as grown to become a power product in the market.
Let’s take Coca Cola for example. There are other products that have been manufactured by other companies which are very similar in branding and name just so that they can take advantage from the market share as a substitute. Even though they are close with the branding and name, they will never be same. Coca Cola Company understands that these are things they can’t prevent but they can ensure that their products are well differentiated for easy identification by their consumers.
Branding is the aspect of a business that speaks for the product or service when you are not there to answer questions. You consider the colour, product design, quality control etc. All Coke consumers are well acquainted with the Red colour which is part of the product design and at every gulp, you will know if you’re taking the right drink due to its consistent recipe. I once bought a Coke drink with a friend who at the time was addicted to the drink. Just from a poor fizzy sound while opening the coke bottle, she could tell it was a fake drink. Coke has its recipe that as ensured the feel and taste had been perpetuated over the couple of decades. So when you come across a fake product, you will know.
For the case of a service which can be done by several other companies, the easiest way to keep your identification is through the use of your logo. In Nigeria, one of the most respected road construction company is Julius Berger. The company has been responsible for some of the very important roads and bridges in Nigeria and that has built a viable level of trust for the masses especially in respect to quality and durability.
I have been fortunate to travel a lot by land to several states in Nigeria and whenever I drive through some bridges siting the logo of Julius Berger Company, I feel more comfortable considering their reputation. The only reason I could affirm the company responsible for the service was the logo simply written in a Capital B coloured white in a Blue Square Shape. Your brand must be very easy to identify
So do ensure that as a startup entrepreneur you’re ready to keep your product different from the rest and for the sake of those reading who are already an existing entrepreneur(s), you should also ensure to differentiate your business from the rest.
A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others – Ayn Rand
Businesses that were born from the inspiration of creating value for its consumers had no difficulty making their presence acknowledged. Literally, when an entrepreneur is asked the primary purpose for his/her business, the reply is profit maximization. I have studied the very successful entrepreneurs who are billionaires and I realized most businesses struggles financially because they have gotten it all wrong. The billionaires’ approach to businesses is not the same as any business owner would. They understand that customers are willing to pay whatever it cost to afford satisfaction or solution. So instead of putting more attention to the prices of goods and services, they care more about the value and authenticity of their products and services. When you build your business on a foundation of value, profit maximization becomes inevitable.
My onetime favourite India movie remains ‘3 Idiots’, I couldn’t get enough of it. In so many ways, the movie spoke about value as a primary objective in whatever we are doing especially in our career path. There was a quote by Ranchhoddas just at the end of the movie which he stated “follow excellence… success will chase you”. I have always applied that to my every activity, academics and most especially business. In application to business, I have sought to build my philosophy around the quote which in other words implies that I should dwell on the value I’m creating for the consumers and they’ll come chasing after me regardless of my location.
Value allows you take control of the market, it enables you to compel the consumers’ behaviour, and that’s why at that point in time, your consumers don’t feel exploited, they feel favoured and are willing to match up the price for your service or product. If your consumers don’t feel satisfied with your product, there is a very low chance that there might be a reuse of that product.
The longevity of your business also dwells on the value of your product or service. In several cases, businesses are self-marketed as a concomitant of the value you’re offering to the consumers. You might have to do less media advertisement why because, your product already covers most of the advertising you’ll do. You might be wondering; how will a product do my advertisement? I’ll explain. In marketing, the most powerful means of advertisement is the Word of Mouth (WOM). We are all victims of such advertisement.
I found myself eating in places I never would have come across given by my road map for my daily outings, but to my surprise I came to be acquainted with a few eateries. If you may ask, how did this come about? I got to know only because I was told by friends or relatives. Neither my friends nor relatives were paid to do so, but yet they ensured I was aware about such destinations. They came to me full of excitement trying to tell me about a lovely meal they had earlier that day…… insisting that I should also try it out, backing up their statements with a promise that I wasn’t going to regret it. In the manner and picture which it was canvased to me, I began to feel hungry for what I haven’t even seen, and that moment, my curiosity hungered more than my stomach.
In the good intent of your actions, I’m certain by the lack of awareness that you have been an excellent marketer for one or more products or services, not because you were very concerned about increasing the numbers of customers for that business, but because you wanted those you cared about to enjoy from the value of that product or service. For instance, it could be that referral suggested to your female friends as result of the numerous admiration and compliments enjoyed from a makeover or could be the case of an event planning which you were satisfied with and you also referred those who you think would benefit so well from the quality of the service. Perhaps, you could be recommending or sharing this article to a friend at the end of your reading because of the value you’re getting as well.
So, your primary objective as an entrepreneur needs to be built around the mindset of CREATING VALUE. And in the process of creating value, you differentiate your business from the rest. This simply implies that you put the consumers first, which is the feeling that convinces the consumers to doing business with you. With more consumers, there will be an increase in profit which will be reflected on the business development and expansions.
To be continued….