5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Avoid Being a Commodity in Their Business

If you are not careful upon creating your business concept, you may fall into a trap.  The “I am just like everyone else who does what I do” trap.

That, Incredible One, would make you a commodity. I particularly like the following two dictionary.com definitions for commodity:

1. a mass-produced unspecialized product
2. a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price

Trust me, you want to avoid this trap at all costs and I will use one of my favorite brands to tell you why.

Although I love Macy’s, they’ve kind of set themselves up to never be seen as a high-end retailer.  And maybe that works for Macy’s.  But when you are an entrepreneur, you don’t want to follow the Macy’s business model.

You know what I mean, right?  Every week, like clockwork, they have a one-day sale and a preview day.  On either the sale or preview day, you can get the savings.  So once I caught on to this, I stopped shopping there unless they were having a sale. Now, if you love to shop at Macy’s you love this because you seldom have to pay full price for your wares at Macy’s; but if you are an entrepreneur building a business, I’m hoping that you see the lesson here:  Macy’s sets themselves up to never stand out in the market place as an exclusive, high-end retailer of fine goods because every week you can get what you need and you can get it on sale. If you’re always having a sale, the value placed on items you sell goes down substantially.

If you are a service-based entrepreneur as most entrepreneurs are, I’m hoping you can catch the lesson.  Whenever you commoditize yourself and your offerings, you will NOT be seen as a thought leader, expert or “have to have” by anyone who’d consider working with you.

This is exactly Erin’s problem:

“Hi Darnyelle.  So I’ve been building my business for the past few years and I am feeling so stuck. I feel like what I do, anyone can do.  I feel like I am a commodity, a dime a dozen – How do I position myself as an expert so that I can command more attention, exposure, opportunities and revenue?”

Check out my response to her question on this week’s episode of Incredible Factor TV.  

(After you watch this week’s episode, be sure to join us back here for the after party and share your two cents!)

Now, at the end of the day, unless you sell paper clips, you went into business to be recognized in your industry as an expert and thought leader.  So, in order to establish your platform and to position yourself as an expert, here is what I recommend:

1. Determine your core competencies. If you are after true expert status, you can’t be a jack-of-all-trades.  There has to be a few things that you are known for in the marketplace. The best way to do this: ask yourself: What do I want to be known for?  This is particularly important for those of us who are very knowledgeable about many topics.  If you’re having trouble determining which you should choose, do your research to see which offer the most viability for your platform to be seen. You should look to have less than 5 core competencies. Unsure which yours are, ask your current or previous clients.  This can be a huge eye opener as to whether what you’re intending to share is actually being shared and learning this now is essential to your thought leadership platform.

2. Take a stand.  To be seen as a thought leader, you have to take a stand for something.  When you acknowledge your stance, be sure to share it openly when you get a chance.  Taking a stand is about designing your platform, the stage upon which you will speak, share and converse about the topic you’ve decided will help the most people and help you to stand out in your industry.

3. Speak up.  By getting booked to speak at events talking about your core competencies, you will immediately be seen as an expert. You stock will go up, as they say.  Now, don’t get too excite about speaking topics that you stray from your core competencies.  You want to speak on the topics you want to be known for.  And when you speak, if you’re not getting paid, have a plan in place to monetize that appearance by working directly with audience members as clients. You can also speak up by being quoted in articles or being a source for the media.

4. Write it on the wall [in highlighter].  By writing about your chosen areas of expertise either via blogging on yours or other websites and online magazines, or in a book, you will get recognized as an authority.  When you write, be sure to include a by-line that shares exactly how others can find you should they want to deepen the connection. The second you show up as the author of something your credibility will boost, helping you to stand out in your industry.

5. Create your own AskYourName.com. When you answer the questions of others, you will get instant credibility.  In full transparency, part of the reason I host Incredible Factor TV is for the credibility boost it gives me to answer other entrepreneur’s questions about business building topics.  If you’re not ready for the big screen, you can also look into the LinkedIn feature Answers and submit answers to those questions that fall inside of your expertise.

So what say you?  I want to hear your two cents. How have you avoided the commodity trap?  What can you share with Erin to help her find ways to stand out in the marketplace?  Be sure to leave a comment below with your two cents so that Erin and the others in the Incredible Factor community can benefit from what you have to say.  (Psst – this is a great way to start standing out!)

©2013 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Speaker, Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises.com, Incredible Factor University® the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System® a proven step-by-step program for more clients, more income and more leverage in your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Entrepreneurs Must Avoid When Unleashing Your Incredible Factor So You Attract More Clients, Make More Money and Gain More Leverage” just fill out the form below.

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