Differentiate Yourself From The Competition- Get Creative!

“Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny.”
Carl Schurz (1829 – 1906)

Occasionally, you will encounter a new idea that is so simple, yet so powerful, you will be amazed. And quite often your next reaction will be ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ Take Zumba for example. It is estimated that 7.5 million people in 105 countries around the world are embracing this new, fun-filled form of exercise. There are now more than 3000 Zumba instructors in Australia alone. That’s a lot of wiggling hips and goofy grins!

How about Twitter? Or the 24-hour access gym? Or that nifty little scanner ‘Digiframe’ that scans photos and receipts and saves them as electronic files. My last example (I could go on… ) – a the company that converts blog pages into coffee table books – now that’s a turnaround!

As you search for a way to differentiate yourself from your competiton, original, creative ideas are gold. I learnt recently that our creativiety declines dramatically as we age, if we allow it to. But if you are looking for an edge in business, creativity is essential. Use your creativity to solve your customers’ problems more efficiently, or identify a problem that doesn’t yet have a solution and get creative finding one. Find a new way to deliver your existing product – the square pizza, the Cruizer pie, the ultra-concentrated detergent, the dentist check-up reminder via SMS.

Heres a few current trends you might want to focus on:

Make a great idea even better with personalization. Facebook is a great idea. Now you can pay creative types to ‘pimp’ your Facebook page to stand out from the crowd. Ikea revolutionized home furnishings, but for Canberrans, our closest store is in Sydney. A smart Canberra-based business now provides a delivery and assembly service for Canberra residents. A little further afield, a Dutch company, Mykea, allows you to customize your Ikea products by converting your personal photos into adhesive stickers which you attach to the furniture. Boardshorts were a welcome step forwards in the evolution of men’s swimwear (somebody point this out to Tony Abbott, please!), Shortomatic.com allows you to customize your shorts so you’ll always stand out in the surf.

Go Green. Many of us would like to ‘tread more lightly’ on Mother Earth and use eco-friendly products. If you’re a hairdresser, source enviro-friendly hair products. A new chain of carbon-neutra,l eco-friendly dry cleaners has just landed in Australia. And within the printing industry, those at the cutting edge are using vegetable-based inks and recycled papers. My newest client, Liz from Bali Flags, is developing eco-friendly signage solutions.

Love the Boomers. We hear daily about the aging population – the number of Australians aged between 65 and 84 will double in the next 40 years. Will you react with new products and services for this wealthy, mobile, discerning market? If you are a personal trainer or gym owner, tailor a program that focusses on maintaining flexability, builds bone density and adds a social context and fill those ‘middle of the day’ gaps. Home and garden and maintenace providers – look at how you can better serve the needs of this growing market.

Other ‘tribes’ with growing influence – women, the time-poor, social media junkies, pet owners…

Get creative, may the next big idea be one of yours!

Richard Everson
Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra

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