I remember my parents saying to me when I was growing up, “You have to make do with what you have.” That certainly was the theme of the 20th century. The Dewi Decimal System, the milkman, caravan vacations, VCR and tapes. It was certainly a different time. Back then, we did have to make do with what we had.
Today, that’s no longer the case. The Internet changed all that. From free Skype calls to next-day delivery of pretty much anything, the 21st century has been all about abundance. A kid in the Sahara with a smartphone has access to more knowledge than the Pentagon had just 4o years ago. That alone should scare and excite us at the same time.
What does that mean for the entrepreneur of the 21st century? It means, more than ever before, the importance of standing out. It means having a USP—unique selling point—that people understand clearly. It’s not enough to be a lawyer. Today, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from hundreds of other lawyers in your area. Perhaps you specialize in personal injury? Maybe it’s estate planning? Bankruptcy? Immigration? People aren’t just searching for any lawyer, they’re looking for someone who can handle their particular needs which is why every piece of marketing they put out reflects their specialty.
Gone are the days that you have to make do with the small selection nearest you. You can hire out-of-town, out-of-state, or internationally. Take your pick, you can get access to pretty much anyone with a little effort.
The most successful companies today understand the importance of having laser focus. Look at these six successful companies.
You might think Amazon’s success is its selection. It’s hard to disagree with the fact that they have a huge selection, but what really sets Amazon apart is speed. Order today, and you’ll get it tomorrow. Don’t like it? No problem, send it back. Amazon makes it easy and quick for people to get what they need, and more importantly when they need it.
When I think of Apple I think of innovation, but in recent years, other companies have actually taken the lead from Apple. So why are they so successful? Because their products work. To me, Apple products signify simplicity. Windows and Android may have many great functions, but iOS just works—pretty much hassle free.
This company is synonymous with the cool electric car. They certainly weren’t the first, but they were the first to make electric cars that people actually wanted. The Nissan Leaf was a decent attempt at making an electric car, but it’s not turning any heads. Anyone that has seen a Tesla or ridden in one nearly always says, “Wow.”
Japan was known for being expensive for years. Pretty much everything seemed overpriced to Americans. But the economy changed and with it people’s spending habits. Along came Uniqlo, selling cheap, good, quality clothes. They also created HeatTech, a fabric that helped people stay warm with relative ease despite seemingly as flimsy as a normal T-Shirt. Nothing fancy, but they grew into Japan’s biggest companies.
A company that’s been around for some time and keeps bringing the goods. McDonald’s success is all about fast food, but they have been able to replicate their taste the world over no matter what climate or environment. It may not be good food, but we all know we can count on what we’re getting when we go there. Here’s an interesting lifehack I learned years ago—ask for French Fries without salt and you’re guaranteed to have them made fresh for you. While there is no denying they are all about food, the funny thing is if you were to ask Ray Kroc what business McDonald’s is in, he’d say, “real estate.”
What makes your company unique?
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Adrian Shepherd started his career as an ESL teacher in Japan, but today focuses on consulting with individuals and companies on productivity. His background in education helped him develop The One-Bite Time Management System (TMS), a revolutionary new system based entirely around simplicity: small bites that people can digest easily. He is also a contributor for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global and The Good Men Project. He is based in Osaka, Japan.