Regardless of what industry you are in, you can rest assured that there are dozens, maybe even hundreds or thousands of people doing very similar things with same idea. How many “me-too” blogs are out there trying to find easy riches. How many cafes, restaurants and stores open with similar concepts and designs as more established companies? The risk averse people on the sidelines see a successful individual or company and then they rush in and try to do the same thing.
You don’t risk much starting a blog and letting it stagnate into oblivion, so I don’t shed a tear for the millions of blogs with no readership. However, I do feel bad for all the people sinking their life savings into the tenth version of the same business on the same street. I often use a term for this, “You can’t out Starbuck, Starbucks.” What this means is a small start up with limited capital is not going to effectively compete against an established competitor by doing exactly the same things. How many cafes in the world have copied Starbucks strategy right down to the logos, menu and decor? It is sad that so many people are afraid to do something original.
In Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow, he talked about how you need to stand out if you want to get noticed in a crowded market place. In a field of black and white cows, it is the purple cow that gets the attention. Everyone ignores all the other cows because they are not special. What is your purple cow? What are you doing that makes people take notice and tell their friends?
What it takes to be a Rock Star
People are not going to be excited about you because you are five percent cheaper, faster, stronger or better. Incremental improvements over established companies are not enough to wow customers. You really need to shock people. Look at rock stars like Alice Cooper, Kiss, Marilyn Manson, or Slipknot to see the value of doing astonishing things. You don’t need scary make up and stage antics to succeed, you just need to do things different by an order of magnitude.
How is this for a restaurant idea? The Heart Attack Grill. They advertise that, “This establishment is bad for your health.” They are not trying to make food that is marginally lower in calories. Quite the contrary, they serve up the most unhealthy, but probably most delicious hamburgers in the industry with names like “Quadruple Bypass Burger.” The waitresses even wear skimpy nurse outfits to emphasize that your health is at risk. This is something remarkable that people will tell their friends about.
The Power of Personality and Hard Work
A great example of a remarkable person online is Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV. His hard work, passion, and overwhelming excitement have made him a huge internet celebrity as well as a successful businessman. Kudos to Gary!
What are you doing that is so amazingly great that people will want to give you their valuable attention and maybe even their money?
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I moved to Japan more than 12 years ago, my wife and I have a one year plan to change our careers and move to a new country once again. If you are interested in hearing more about our progress and reading interviews with real people making huge lifestyle design decisions, please subscribe to my RSS feed and follow me on Twitter.