There are very few truly original ideas these days. A lot of the things we see are small modifications or improvements on something that already exists. As an entrepreneur, you're creating a solution to some problem for your audience. That in itself, hopefully, means that you have focused on your strengths and built something that truly deserves the recognition of your ideal customers.
One big problem that is encountered with entrepreneurship is that there are a lot of entrepreneurs who are simply trying to copy the success path of another company. For instance, there is likely some social entrepreneur out there trying to launch the next Facebook. Or someone is trying to launch the next game app and hope it goes viral with an audience that they may not have even tested yet. It's not enough to duplicate the path of bigger companies, times have changed since their rise to the dominant players that they are now. Competition is real in these streets and it only gets more intense as technological advances occur and the barriers to entry become lower.
Being an entrepreneur is already hard. Entering an already crowded market makes the job of an entrepreneur even harder.
So what is the ONE thing that you should really focus on when entering a crowded market?
Setting yourself apart!
This is often overlooked on the most basic of levels. Think of Pareto's principle. This is amongst the 20% that you can do, that can lead to 80% of results. If you have seen one of ABC's hit shows Shark Tank, you will understand what I'm talking about. It's like every entrepreneur goes on the show and is pleading with the investors just to say how their business is differentiated from the competition. When in reality there is like one small improvement over the competition and in a lot of cases that minor improvement isn't even proprietary to the new entrepreneurs company.
Elon Musk has an interesting view on setting yourself apart in the sense that he thinks [I'm paraphrasing here] it is unnecessary to start a new business within an industry unless you have a 10x improvement on the competition. Clearly, if you're that inventive then you will definitely stand out, but that doesn't work for everyone so you have to seek other ways of setting yourself apart.
There are plenty of ways that you can set yourself apart, whether it is from a marketing aspect, the process in which you do things, pricing strategy, how you interact with customers, etc. No matter the area that you choose to stand out in, to help your business grow, go all in. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to standing out. Be careful not to stand out in a bad way because I tend to disagree with the notion that any publicity is good publicity. It may be necessary for you to get some consulting advice when going about your stand out strategy.
If there is anything that you feel I've missed leave a comment below and share with anyone who reads this article in the future.