Every entrepreneur faces the same challenge: How can they show their uniqueness so that buyers will only purchase from them? Every employee faces a challenge too: How can they make themselves irreplaceable and secure their positions?
Whether you're a company owner or an ambitious career-builder, the solutions to each of those challenges is the same. Here are five of them.
1. Communicate Clearly
Every job requires clear communication. A carpenter needs to explain clearly to the rest of the team what he's doing and when he's doing it. The sales lead at a property development company needs to broadcast the company's unique sales points, and draw leads to the close. The owner of the business needs to set targets and expectations so that team members know exactly what they have to do and customers know exactly what they're getting.
Asked to share what he thought makes his company unique, Travis Chambers of Chamber Media, a marketing firm, cited his ability to drive sales, structure agreements, and build a team. But his communication skills came first: "To write well to explain how we solve problems, to sell services and sell myself and my team to bring in business."
2. Always Look to Improve
When we take a first job or open a first business, we're aware of how little we know. We ask for help. We look for mentors. We attend conferences and listen to other entrepreneurs. We learn as quickly as we can because we can see how much there is to know. Over time, though, that drive to learn shrinks. As our abilities grow, and with them, our confidence, there's a danger that we can stop learning. We realize that we now know more than most and we believe that's enough. The hardest employees to replace are those who never stop trying to improve, and the companies that stand out are the ones that are never left behind.
"Never be too arrogant to ask for advice," says Jonathon WolfeBarron, president of RollingAdz. "Stay Humble."
3. Develop Creativity
Creativity isn't inborn. It's developed. The ability to generate and build new ideas comes with practice. It's the result of consuming and understanding the ideas and creations of others, and of building and improving your own plans. It's also what makes companies stand out from the crowd and employees deliver extra value to their bosses.
"Creativity in problem-solving and timely execution are my mantras at work," says Anoop Bhatia, CEO of Nowigence, an A.I.-powered sales data company. "I'm a strong believer that great achievements require a strong team. Creating the right work culture that nurtures creativity, practicality, and team spirit are critical."
4. Work Smart, Not Hard
Have a positive relationship to money. Shay Rawbottom helps brands generate revenue on social media and position themselves as experts in their industry by creating engaging and compelling video content.
If you asked Shay what she does, she would say, "As little as we can for as much money as possible." As a proponent and practitioner of working smart, she says, "Always think about what provides value to your audience, your target market, your client. Put value first, above everything." It's this type of raw and honest communication that creates an environment which values the team and the client.
5. Enjoy What You Do!
Both employers and customers are looking for one thing. It's not a new product or more income. It's not a higher standard of living or more efficiency.
When customers buy a product, they expect that product to make their life feel better. When entrepreneurs walk into the office in the morning, they want to feel content and satisfied with their life. We all want to enjoy ourselves--and no one wants to buy from or work with someone who's not enjoying what they do.
That means not just choosing work you like, but taking the time to enjoy the life your work gives you. "Slow down," advises Darcey Edwards of Edwards Realty Trust. "We are in such a hurry to crush it, and sometimes we can burn ourselves out.... I schedule time off throughout the day, where I take time to relax, breathe, run errands, or have some fun.... Taking a few hours here and there throughout the day will actually accomplish more than racing through."
Talk and write clearly, keep learning, be creative, and above all, have fun! Do all of those things, and you'll be both unique and irreplaceable.