You've probably heard the expression, "There's nothing new under the sun."
That expression is anathema to what we as entrepreneurs are here to do.
We're here to create - to create things that are new or, at the very least, that are perceived to be new.
New ideas, fresh approaches, different and better ways to solve customer problems or enhance their lives.
We're here to create a business system unlike any other.
Yes, every business, large or small, is a system in which all the parts contribute to the success or failure of the whole.
The Grand System that is your business is made up of more discrete subsystems, which are themselves made up of a variety of parts.
With so many things going on in your business all the time, it can be difficult sometimes to see the forest for the trees - that is, to identify the main driving factors that affect the systems you create, how you create them, and the results they produce.
Here are four of these factors and, while they are common to all businesses, it's the unique way you address them, and your ability to construct your systems so they work seamlessly together, that will set you apart.
When you conceive an original way to see these factors, and then design an original methodology that produces an original result, you will achieve that most coveted goal - true differentiation of your brand.
At the very core of your business enterprise is your customer. Who are your most important customers and what are the challenges or dilemmas they face? Once you've identified these challenges or dilemmas, how do you intend to resolve them?
Entrepreneurs are constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve the condition of their customers and are alert to how their business systems are either contributing to a positive customer experience or detracting from it.
Every customer is being pursued by one or more competitors of your company. Each of those competitors is offering alternative solutions to your chosen customer's concerns, frustrations, and needs.
Your opportunity, therefore, is to identify each of those competitors and compare their offerings with your own. Analyze their product or service, the offer they make, including pricing, the methods they use to make that offer, and the effectiveness of their solution. Among all of these are likely to be deficiencies that your company could exploit to your - and your customer's - advantage.
3. Distribution Channels
There is a vast array of channels you can use to distribute your product or service, with new ones coming into play all the time. The Internet, of course, has been a game changer with respect to distribution, while traditional methods are also still in play, such as retailing, wholesaling, franchising, licensing, and direct sales.
Whether you focus on one channel or a combination, keep in mind the reach, effectiveness, limitations, and cost of each. Then see if there is an original approach you can take that will make your product or service more accessible more conveniently or more quickly.
4. Media Channels
How do you get your message out to prospective customers? What is the content of your message? What does your message communicate both explicitly and implicitly?
The media you choose to reach prospects impacts all of these. It impacts how your customers perceive your product and sets their expectations of both your product and your company. And the media channels themselves may create positive or negative impressions; for example, some customers may perceive newspapers as old fashioned and some may think the Internet is too impersonal.
Finding new ways to use media that cuts through the glut of messages people are bombarded with becomes, then, not just a way to attract potential customers, but a way to demonstrate the innovativeness of your company and differentiate your brand.
The creative gene that lives inside every true entrepreneur is always on the lookout for unique ways to solve common problems. And when those ideas are born and then take shape through the systems you design, they can transform your business and your customer's life.