A few years ago when I actively worked closely with fashion entrepreneurs, I had the pleasure of interviewing some of the country’s top designers in an event we used to host called the business side of fashion. We often asked them: how do you handle people copying you? Most of them responded: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – a quote by Oscar Wilde.
Whilst that statement is good for fashion, it is not the wisest way to grow your business. I see so many business owners copying what others are doing without knowing why they are doing it! I like the saying by Jim Rohn that success leaves clues and I often quote it, however it is not about taking the clues and running with it, it is knowing what is behind the riddle.
As a business owner, I challenge you to think differently if you want to grow a successful business. Here are my suggestions on how you can do it:
Be clear about what you want to achieve
Have you heard the saying “if you don’t know where you are going, anywhere will take you there?” This is one of the major reasons why business owners try to copy others. When you don’t have a clear direction, any new trend or fad can easily distract you and you can get carried away to start doing what others are doing because you think they are getting results. Have a clear vision for your business at least for the next milestone because it will keep getting clearer as you go along.
Define your own U.S.P
In the business world, U.S.P means your Unique Selling Proposition. It is something unique you have to offer clients that differentiates your business from other businesses. As the global economy goes through current challenges, I think our focus needs to shift from selling to serving. I recently heard Lisa Nichols define U.S.P as unique serving proposition and I agree with her. Your U.S.P is how you intend to serve your clients in a way that they will be different and unique to you. People might copy what you do, but your U.S.P will be your own secret source.
Move from tunnel vision to funnel vision
Tunnel vision is a term used to describe a tendency to focus on a single objective. Tunnel vision is important when you are working on a project or trying to hit a goal. However, in growing a successful business, you will need to broaden your horizon. This means exposing yourself to how things are done even beyond your immediate environment, get interested in other industries apart from your own, you will be surprised how inspiration can come from different things.
One of the reasons why I enjoy hosting my radio show, the Entrepreneur’s journey, is that it gives me an opportunity to interview entrepreneurs from different industries. I am able to get different perspectives and learn from them. Broaden your horizons; it will ignite you to do things differently for the good of your business.
Make continuous learning your goal
When last did you read a good book or attend a course that helped you become a better business owner? I keep hearing people in the training and consulting space say Africans don’t like investing in their personal development. While I think that’s sad, I choose to believe that gradually people are becoming more aware that their personal development is very important if they want to achieve success in life.
I have seen how a commitment to continuous learning has transformed my life and business so I challenge you to make the commitment. One of the ways to pay yourself as a business owner is to invest in getting knowledge. The truth is your business cannot grow faster than you are growing as the owner.
When you are open to learning and growing, you will always be ahead of the game. If you are committed to your business growth, I invite you to watch my free video on the 4 pillars of business growth. Sign up and watch it here.