Why being unique is so crucial to business planning

In this series of 19 short articles, StratPad’s founder discusses the fundamentals of starting and running a small business.

This article explains the importance of differentiation when business planning, rather than trying to go head-on with your competitors.

Q: Why should small businesses avoid competition?

A: Competition is overwhelming for small businesses. My best advice to small businesses is simply don’t compete.

What I mean by that is to find a set of customers who have a set of needs that you can deliver on better than absolutely anybody else. Keep that in mind as you begin your business planning. If you’re unique in your ability to deliver, then by definition, uniqueness means that you don’t have any competition. There may be lots of people that are selling flowers, but are there lots of people who are selling Amazonian grown, three-foot long, red roses that were imported fresh this morning on the plane?

That’s the way you’ve got to be thinking about it. If you’re just going to open a store that’s just anybody else’s flower stop, then you don’t mean anything to anybody. You’re not special to anybody, and you’re just going to be right in the middle of a whole sea of competitors that are selling just a bunch of flowers.

You want your voice to be heard above the noise. Business planning isn’t just about spending more money than the competition; it’s about positioning yourself as different from them, so that you can differentiate yourself.

That’s why uniqueness is so key to business planning.

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