Relevance is a key success factor for any business. Changing times require businesses to constantly evaluate their relevance in their market and identify what can keep them different from their competition. To identify your unique differentiator, it’s best to create your list from a free-thinking mindset, using your creative, right-side of your brain to answer these 3 questions:  

  • What are the existing pain points within your industry/specialty?
  • What are the potential solutions?
  • What unique solutions can your product or service provide?

Having a background in medical device sales and business development I saw a big disconnect for the physician/customer between having to learn how to use the device, (perform the surgery, create internal systems and processes to smoothly perform the surgery), and then having to learn how to ‘sell’ the procedure to get potential patients – someone has to start paying for that new equipment! When the medical device company cut back on providing business development services to the doctors, I leveraged that opportunity to start my own consulting business, bridging the service gap to teach the doctors and staff how to grow their business.

Growing your business and how to overcome obstacles to that growth is what other entrepreneurs and I discuss at my monthly program, Her Own Business. We meet every 1st Tuesday at 6 pm CT.

One of the biggest mental challenges entrepreneurs face is discounting their business idea. “Oh, there are a million businesses out there that sell (fill in the blank).” Look at it this way, how many stores sell clothing? Exactly! After answering those top 3 questions, dive in a little deeper by answering these questions:

  • When reflecting on your past positions, what were you known for? If you find yourself stuck, reach out to those in your professional network and ask them for feedback.
  • What job duties did you really love?
  • When thinking about work team situations, what role(s) did you play? Were you a facilitator, mediator, catalyst, or a listener?

Taking time to free-think and reflect is an essential process to identifying your unique differentiators and is considered to be the strategic part of business. Before any action is taken, you must have a clear strategy that provides the outline from which your actions are based. If you are taking action and it feels like you’re “throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if it sticks,” you should stop! Action taken with that underlying feeling or emotion will not serve you well, as it continues to perpetuate anxiety, doubt and fear. Being confident in knowing how you, your product or service can make a difference to your market, is the differentiator between the success and failure of your business.

The Future of Connection for Women

Jan Barlow
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