How to stand out in a crowded field.

My friends at Direct Capital sent me a story about a 13-year-old named Hart Main who has developed a particularly interesting business model. In a candle industry heavily dominated by women buyers, Main has made an impact with his “manly candle” line, with scents like fresh cut grass. It’s a brilliant move to differentiate his products from the rest of the market, and as a 13-year-old he’s managing to make decent scratch selling these candles online.

Their message was simple. Time and time again, you’re bombarded with messaging that indicates that your business should be unique. Let’s face it, friends: Your business can only be so unique. What you have to do is put a new, unique spin on an existing product or service to get attention.

As they explain, there’s two main ways you can do that:

  1. Find out where your competitors are going and run in the other direction. So your market is dominated by pleasing scents like flowers, which appeal primarily to female consumers? Create male-centric candles. Got six companies with traditional dog treats? Fill a niche market with ones that look and taste like whoopie pies. The important thing is drawing a line in the sand between you and your competitors, the better to say that “we do something no one else does.”
  2. Market your product aggressively. Even if your product or service isn’t particularly unique, you can make it stand out through great advertising and marketing efforts. Make an effort to distance yourself from the traditional services by emphasizing even the tiniest differences your company has, the smallest advantages. You’re not just a candle company—your candles burn longer and safer than the competitors. Sometimes, that’s enough.

The moral to the story for all of us is to constantly take a page out of Hart Main’s book and try to find something new in your business, even if it’s nothing radical. By standing out, you can grow.

Good luck and good hunting.

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