Last week I introduced this topic, where I dealt with the importance of differentiating yourself as an entrepreneur. My proposal of differentiation is on two different paths: first at a personal level, that is as an entrepreneur and the second is for the products and services your company is going to offer. For today’s article I will talk about the first item.
I decided to write the title of this article as a question, as I want to invite you to analyze if you are a “different” entrepreneur or just another one of the bunch. When I started as an entrepreneur in Colombia, my home country, back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it wasn’t usual to meet other entrepreneurs. I’m not saying I was the only entrepreneur, as there were others, however the situation is quite different at what is happening today in many countries, where large communities of entrepreneurs exist.
As I said, today the situation is different, in part to the support of government agencies, companies, universities, nonprofit organizations and more, which have aided entrepreneurship. This situation is great and I can only think how different my entrepreneurship road had been if I had encountered so much help when I started. Beyond this thought, I just want to point that generally speaking the entrepreneur landscape is very active, with many business ideas, projects and obviously, entrepreneurs.
With this situations, for instance, you can find many business ideas that are similar or which you can predict, will become competitors in the not so distant future. From a market perspective this is a great news, but for the entrepreneur, its team and eventual investors, not so much (from a certain angle, this might be positive, thinking that competition might develop faster the market).
I believe that to confront competition, differentiation is a must. It might sound obvious that this has to start with your product or service, however as I said earlier, this has to start with the entrepreneur.
In an early stage, almost all entrepreneurs have to go into the market and sell themselves. Sure, you might de selling your product or service, but at the end, you’re really selling yourself, your empathy, how you talk and dress, as this will help or block your sell. So it’s not a bad idea to differentiate yourself at a personal level as an entrepreneur (or the entrepreneur group) and show yourself as a unique individual and not just another entrepreneur.
I believe this recommendation will be useful, especially when looking for capital for your business. When faced with a potential investor, beyond the business ideas, he or she will invest in a group of entrepreneurs they trust and who have the traits to be successful. An entrepreneur, who is just one more with no differentiation, will have a hard time convincing investors that he is the right personal, but one who is different and projects trust and knowledge will have a competitive advantage.
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