It is unfortunate that quite a number of entrepreneurs—business owners—and organizations want to stand out of the crowd—competition. This is not a bad idea, but the truth is, you will never be standing out for too long. In a competitive market, soon enough, your competition will catch up with you or your organisation. So, it is advisable to be totally different than to stand out.
To stand out simply means to have or develop a feature (or more) that differentiates you from your competitions. This is when an organisation—business or individual—enhances its product or service to different itself from its competition. This is perhaps a good strategy when you want to stay ahead of your competition for a while. However, it will require that you keep innovating to consistently stay ahead. However, your competitions too are smart and may learn quickly and eventually catch up and overtake you.
It is unfortunate that most businesses and individuals exist and compete in the realm of standing out; the competitive or me-too realm. For example: all android phones exist in this realm. From Samsung to the no-name-brands produced in tiny room size factories in China. Another good example is the automotive industry where the likes of Honda, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai and myriads of other me-too brands exist in the stand-out realm.
It is important that you choose to be different over standing out. To be different means to have a nature, form or quality that other doesn’t have. It means to exist in a world of your own; in a monopolistic market. Individuals like late Mahatma Gandhi, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Michael Jackson existed and still exist in this monopolistic realm. So are companies like Apple Inc, Amazon and Rolls Royce.
To be different is to completely create something new and extremely difficult for others to recreate. You can also look at the already existing invention and completely modify it. Like Apple Inc. modified the Discman and its likes to create the ipod. Or like Amazon modified bookstores to become the largest bookstore in the universe without owning a book. Or you can take a cue from Netflix.
How then do you get started on the journey to becoming different instead of standing out? You can either choose to invent what doesn’t exist and then own the primary technology that controls it. Or, observe what already exists, modify and still own the primary technology that controls it.
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa, the founder of BusinessIQ magazine. He is a Business Development Consultant with over a decade of experience. He is the business management facilitator for Simplinteriors School of Entrepreneurship and a regular contributor to Business Day National Newspaper.