How do you stand out? Be yourself!

Do you ever feel like your business or service is lined up with all of your competition and all of you look the same?  Wouldn’t it be great if you could stand out from the crowd? 

You could go with an original business idea to stand out, however I’m convinced that there are very few totally originally ideas out there at any given time.  (Go search Google the next time you think you’ve got something new…).

That’s not an indictment against imagination or creativity – actually it’s just the opposite, there are so many great tools, sources of information and creative people out there that it’s really difficult to imagine coming up with something that no one has ever thought of before.

So you’re probably not going to stand out because of a unique business idea, but you still need to separate yourself from the pack.

Quick example – the Real Estate market

My wife and I were talking about Real Estate agents we know the other day and we got on the subject of how you would pick out an agent, assuming that the ones you know meet basic criteria of professionalism, expertise, etc.

They all have access to the basically the same tools (they all use a variation of MLS, although some offices do have more extensive web sites or reporting tools).

Assuming they have at least a couple of years of experience, they know a lot of people in the industry and they know what’s going on.

You might make a selection based on an area of town that you’re looking for, but at best that narrows it down to 10 – 20 agents rather than hundreds.

So how do you select someone?  More than likely you are going to end up selecting someone that was either referred to you by a friend, co-worker, etc. and / or someone that you feel a connection with, someone that stood out as a unique individual.

Someone that you Know, Like and Trust.

What’s the one thing you do better than anyone?

It might be several things, but certainly you are best at being you.

Really – no one else is going to come very close to being you, and that makes you unique.

You might think – so what, what good does that do me?  Here’s what it does, it gives you an angle that no one else can really take in regards to your business.  It gives you a personal brand that can stand out.

People expect quality products or service, generally they expect professionalism (depending on the industry, that definition might vary) and they expect that you know what you’re doing.  If you can’t meet that basic criteria, then being unique or interesting probably doesn’t matter.

However – assuming that you are good at what you do, then being yourself may give you an edge – to let you stand out, to give you a personal brand that’s different than everyone else.

Remember – you aren’t a great fit for everyone

One thing to consider that actually a positive (even though it sounds negative) is that you aren’t going to be a great fit for everyone – even if they’re in your target market.

By being yourself and letting people get to know the real you – the people that are in your target market will have a much easier time deciding if you are the kind of person they want to work with.  Sure you could string more people along by being more of a professional drone (the corporate world is really good at this), but at some point in time people are going to get to know you and decide if you are a fit for them or not – and that may be after  you’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to market to them.

The additional benefit is that really you only want to work with people that you like anyway – life’s too short to spend it with people that you don’t enjoy, especially at work!

What’s the key to being yourself?

If you’ve got more of a corporate background (like I do), the biggest step might be to loosen up and show more personality.  Although the corporate world is a great place to learn a lot of stuff, it also has the tendency to train people to rein in their passion and excitement – a big part of what makes you unique.

It might also be worthwhile to get feedback from friends, co-workers, people in your Peer Advisory Group (If you’re not in one of these groups let me know) – about what your quirks and unique traits are. 

If you are really into sports and constantly tying everything back to a sports analogy, maybe your marketing should reflect that (maybe you could add a sports blog to your business website – you still want to be professional, but again…let people know more about who you are and what makes you tick).

Finally, there’s what you do (i.e. a Financial Planner) and there’s why you do it (i.e. my parents got burned financially when we were young and I want to keep that from happening to other people). 

A lot of people likely share what you do, but if you have a powerful reason for why you’re doing it (to make money isn’t going to cut it) then more than likely the Why You Do It story will strongly resonate with certain people.

So what makes you…you?  Share it here, I’d love to hear feedback on this.

Shawn Kinkade

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