I couldn't get out of the car fast enough.
The mountain view outside my windshield at Glacier National Park was stunning and, being a self-proclaimed amateur photographer, I felt compelled to capture the scene.
I walked out onto a small dock, past the trees and into the open. A panorama of magnificent natural beauty, unlike any other place I've seen on earth, came into sight. The blue sky, the green trees, the mountains rising out of the horizon and reflecting on a shimmering freshwater lake, all free for my eye to see and my camera to capture.
But I had to wait my turn.
The dock was narrow, and two other visitors wanted the same shot. They weren't the only ones. I snapped a few angles and strolled back to the car, only to watch three more people line up for their photo opp.
That's when the ridiculousness of the moment hit me. We had all captured the same picture of the same mountain on the same day at the same time. Distinguishing my picture from the other photographers would be nearly impossible. If we were competing for the best landscape photo award, the winner would not be chosen by skill, but by luck.
Like a Winning Photo, You Need a Unique Perspective
In the latest episode of The ONE Thing Podcast, Richard C. Wilson discusses the mindset and patterns he's observed while working with multiple multi-millionaires. He talks about how extremely wealthy people think about creating and growing wealth.
When asked what habits they acquired that made their "someday vision a reality," Richard said, "... a hunger for a competitive advantage in the marketplace and their constantly sharpening that edge."
Though I stepped out onto that dock that day, I didn't look for a unique angle; I captured the same photo everyone else did. Unremarkable. Flat. Bland. If you covered a table with Glacier National Park photos, mine would be indistinguishable from the others. Nobody would point to mine and say, "that's Mike Mehlberg's pic. Amazing, right?"
If you're not a photographer (amateur or professional), you likely don't care. But for you or your business, being unremarkable spells death.
Differentiation Must Be Your Top Priority
Are you crystal clear on your differentiation? Are you focused on what makes you unique in the market?
If you're not--if can't succinctly say what makes you different--your customers won't know either.
Take the time to get clear on what makes you you, how what you do is unique in the market, or first in the market, or whatever. Once your differentiation is well defined, your marketing, your sales, your product development, your leadership, your everything will align with your customers who will get the help they need and deserve.
Help from you, not your competition.
Reinforce this differentiation every chance you get. Align it with everything you do. Before long, your customers will know exactly why they keep coming to you to do business, and your competitors will wonder how you got ahead and left them fighting for scraps amongst the other competitors you left behind.
For some in-depth help and exercises you can do to define your competitive advantage and stop fighting your competition over dollars, read The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and Blue Ocean Strategy.
About the Author
Amateur Photographer, App Developer, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Productivity Coach
Mike Mehlberg is unique, just like everybody else :-). Period. End of story. He can help you find your purpose, differentiation, then align it with your business and personal goals so you can live a productive, balanced, and fulfilling life.