As human beings, we have a natural tendency to emulate success, to “keep up with the Joneses”. We see someone enjoying the fruits of their labour and think, “if I do the same thing, I’ll enjoy the same success”. In life, there may be room for two sets of Joneses, but in business there isn’t.
“IN A CROWDED MARKETPLACE, FITTING IN IS A FAILURE. IN A BUSY MARKETPLACE, NOT STANDING OUT IS THE SAME AS BEING INVISIBLE.”
— Seth Godin
“But my competitor is …”
I have sat in many a board room, across many an industry, listening to leaders I respect tremendously compare their businesses to their competition and fashion ways to mimic what competitors are doing. “Competitor A is focusing on X, we should too.” Natural human tendency takes over and we stop thinking strategically.
Is it a good idea to keep an eye on your competition and know what they’re up to? Absolutely! Is it a good idea to mimic what they do because you see them being successful? Definitely not! If we all subscribe to the same “best” practices, how do we set ourselves apart in the hearts and minds of our customers? How do we innovate? As long as we are on autopilot and playing follow the leader, we will never stand out and never enjoy the same success as those we seek to emulate. Is there not a “better” practice?
3 Reasons to Focus On Differentiation
The key to success in business is differentiation – a simple concept that is often overlooked. Focusing on differentiating your business is critical for three reasons:
It ensures that industry continues to innovate, that you are moving forward and always improving.
It makes very clear your unique selling propositions. Customers/guests/patients don’t have to wonder why you’re better - it’s obvious.
Ultimately, it drives revenue. A unique offering, when targeted to a specific audience who needs it, will drive sales and promote the health of your business.
So I challenge you to reframe your thinking. Stop worrying about competitors and start worrying about your customer, because they’re what’s important. Who are your customers and what do they really want - not what do you think they want, but what actually matters to the people you are serving? Be bold, think outside the box and dare to be different!