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When you want to do business how do you make sure what your providing is different?

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I’m a high school student and I find it creative and interesting to have something of your own that you can have control over. Bringing something out to the world the can help the people is important.
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Laura’s Answer

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Linda has a great point, that the *way* you provide your product or service can be just as much of a differentiator as the product or service itself. You can stand out with phenomenal customer service, a different kind of "vibe" to the brand, all sorts of things.

To make sure you're truly not just reinventing the wheel, you'll need to do some research. Once you figure out what you want your company to do, you can start to look into who your market might be - that is, who is most likely to buy from you. Then go talk to those people. What specifically are they looking for? And better yet, what do they need that current companies aren't doing for them? What problems do they have that you could solve?

Then do some research into your competition. What companies are already trying to solve this problem and how are they doing it? What are they missing, that you could provide?

It's worth working in your chosen field for a while, to learn more about the industry. That way, you can get a better idea of what you want to provide and how you might do it. You'll also make connections with people who may be able to help you out along the way.
Thank you very much Chelsea K. Translate
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Linda’s Answer

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Hi Chelsea - I think what you are referencing is a 'niche' or specialized market. Use the internet to research your service or product to determine the availability and how it is delivered. You may come up with an ordinary product or service, but you are different because of the way you deliver it or provide a unique warranty or guarantee. For example - look at LL Bean. They sell clothing, outdoor goods, home goods, etc. Many companies do that. LL Bean made themselves different because of their guarantee to take returns anytime and with no questions asked.

If your product is ordinary, place a lot of emphasis on what is different between you and your competition. Be creative. If you are having trouble, try doing surveys with options. Find out what people want. Think long-term. Build it into your business plan and make it part of your mission statement.

Best wishes!
Linda

Thank you very much Chelsea K. Translate
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Cameron’s Answer

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I have found throughout college that diversifying your experience will take you a long way. I am studying one area of business (Supply Chain) but I am involved in organizations that work with finance which now gives me experience in both areas and more of an experienced candidate in different areas. But also show that you are doing things you are interested in even if it isn't necessarily business related.
I would also say specializing in one area in business by adding a minor or another specific major would also make you stick out as a candidate. Joining clubs that are in different areas in business can help show that you are interested in different areas of business as well.

Cameron recommends the following next steps:

  • Join clubs that show your interests
  • Join clubs that give you knowledge of other business areas
Thank you so much Chelsea K. Translate
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Bob’s Answer

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You may wish to think relative to the "value proposition" that you are offering. Basically, you might ask yourself, what is unique about the product or services you are offering? What problems are to be solved? Do the problems, once solved, offer significant value to the customer? How many people or companies have this problem? Are the problems incurred by local, regional, country wide or global in scope? Similarly, are you offering substantial value to your customer or client, value they are willing to compensate you for? Is it a product or service that no one else offers or is it a significant improvement to products or services now available in the marketplace? Is it easily reproduced by others or are you able to establish a barrage of copyright or patent protections? Will you be the first to market?
The value you offer may be a creative software application, a unique service or services, a significant quality improvement, a better solution at a more reasonable price, a totally new category of product(s) or services that combine the functions of many products or services into one. You will also need to consider if your product or service is reproducible. Can it easily, in volume, be manufactured and distributed? Do you need a partner to do this?
Then, you would want to consider your business model? How would you structure your business and finances? Here, you might consider a 'Funding Plan". This is a plan that roughly lays out what you know, what you think your know and what you need to research before you build your 'Business Plan". Is your product or service so compelling that family, friends or others are willing to loan you money to start a business?

Bob recommends the following next steps:

  • If you attend university, take summer intern jobs in the industry you wish to pursue with your new business ideas
  • Once graduated from university, join a small entrepreneurial firm that offers products and services in the market you wish to enter with your own products or services
  • Speak with potential customers as to what problems they have that keep them awake at night. Problems that must be solved or business will cease to grow or prosper.
  • Attend trade shows in the industry you have an interest in. Visit small companies who have a different vision of the future than entrenched corporations
Thank you so much Chelsea K. Translate
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