You always thought I was blowing hot air when I told you that you have to stop twinning your competitors as a small business, didn’t you? You thought “oh, that short blond girl doesn’t know what she’s talking about, I’m making my numbers fine. The sales are rolling in, my team is competent, why would I change a thing?”. Then there are those others of you out there who have the pain of hearing “oh, you’re an IT security company too?” over and over again at networking events or conferences. You have the pain but you are still not doing anything to fix it because you simply don’t know how.
Well, I’m hear to scare both of you groups of business owners. Those who ignore the problem of differentiation and those who don’t know what to do about it. Your livelihood could be snatched out of your hands overnight by technology if you’re still the same as everyone else. Let me explain where this is happening:
Undifferentiated Realtors Run For Cover
Tech start-ups like Knock, Compass and Opendoor are replacing realtors by offering shorter timelines and simplified processes for buying and selling through a simple app. Knock just got a $400m funding round, it’s a hot idea. When realtors who have absolutely no niche and no added value expertise to offer to their prospects, they are competing with a tech platform. And guess who loses?
People Willing To Die Uncovered
Life insurance ownership is at a 50-year low. It’s because of the barriers of entry to getting assessed and quoted that this is happening, it’s not because people are less worried about dying uncovered! And yet insurance has been another industry to be affected by the differentiate or die rule. Again, for me, this has been a highly difficult industry to convince people to specialize and niche in specific target groups. I’ve often used the example of The Insurance Mom to demonstrate proper differentiated positioning in my seminars. And yet over and over again, most insurance agents and brokers are trying to do it all and be all to everyone with a pulse. Policygenius is going to mow you over, people! You can compare and get the best rates in a few clicks without having to scan, fax or lift a Millennial finger. If you don’t have a different reason why your insurance is right for me specifically, or I can’t tell the difference between you and any other agent, why wouldn’t I click and go?
I hope these few recent examples can convince you that the future is scary if you’re not differentiated. So smell the keyboard and find something or someone to become an expert in to set yourself apart in whatever industry you’re in. Otherwise, bow down to the technology that’s going to take you over.