Stand Out In the Eye of Your Target Market

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Be different for your target market, different colored stones

There is a disease out there called “being like everybody else”. 

This disease greatly affects small business owners who tend to look to their competition for business models, their industry for best practices and this business association for business standards. This incestual relationship causes the same problems that it does in marriage. Pretty soon everyone looks the same and everyone one is a bit dumber.
We are given this disease at a very young age when we were taught in kindergarten to fall in line and do what everyone else was doing. That we should all draw within the lines of our coloring book. We found it was safer to fit into the crowd, obey all the rules and avoid criticism. In school this was a way to avoid failure but this sets up a pattern in us that keeps us from success.

You cannot be successful by avoiding failure; sometimes you have to fail your way to success. 

You may have to go outside of the lines of your profession or industry but it is worth noting that no significant innovation ever came from within the industry box.
"If you can’t find a good role model to follow, then figure out what everybody else is doing and do something else."
   - Unknown
You need to innovate your business to the point that it will stand out in the mind of your target market. Something that will make them sit up and take notice. And no, producing a good quality product won’t do it, nor will offering great service. These are the basic essentials but won’t cause you to stand out in the mind of your customer.
You will have to do something unusual, or do something unusually well or in an unusual way. This does not mean trying to do everything in your business well. That is a recipe to avoid failure; you need to pick what you are going to be mind-blowingly good at and what you are going to be adequately good at. You can’t be mind-blowingly good at everything in your business.
So how do you start down this path? How do you look for things to innovate? How do you find out what innovations would be good?
First of all, don’t get stuck in an incestuous situation. Don’t look at what others in your industry are doing but look beyond your industry. An obstetrician in the 80’s realized that one of the problems in his industry was that it took 2-3 weeks for someone to get their glasses. Then, one day, he was going through a McDonalds drive-through and right there on the spot he came up with the concept of Lenscrafters “glasses in one hour” and, later, “glasses while you wait”. They cut corners in many areas of their business to focus on this one area. This caused them to stand out in the minds of their target market because of their mind-blowing quickness in an industry known for taking 2-3 weeks.
Second, in looking for areas to innovate in your business look at the edges of your business. Look at the small things. Don’t look at the core of your business or the main thing that you do; look at the edges of what you do. Stegink Construction, a remodeling company, decided that they would keep their remodeling projects unbelievably clean to the point that one client said that he thought that their main tool was the shopvac. But the clients loved it because one of their biggest aggravations was the mess in their home. Now, remember, Stegink was in the construction business, not the cleaning business, but they made cleaning a major point in their remodeling business. This caused them to stand out in the mind of their clients so much that they received raving referrals from those clients.
Third, how do we know which innovations to try? There is no guaranteed answer to this one, so I will tell you this. Make sure it is based on customers’ needs or wants and not on your perception of their needs or wants. Then, just do it. Will some of them fail at making you stand out? Yes, but you have to be willing to fail before you will succeed. You can’t steal second with your foot planted firmly on first base.
Don’t be afraid of coloring outside of the lines; don’t be afraid of what the others in the industry would think of you. Innovate your business to the point that it stands out in the mind of your target market.
Are you looking to stand out in the eye of your target market? For more information about how to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at

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