Why You Should Focus on 'Different' and 'Better,' Not 'More'

Compete by offering something none of your competitors do.

learn more about Jess Ekstrom

By Jess Ekstrom

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This article is included in Entrepreneur Voices on Growth Hacking, a new book containing insights from more than 20 contributors, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders.

As an entrepreneur, you're expected to be the CEO, the operations officer, the graphic designer, the marketer, the accountant and any other hat you can possibly fit on your head.

Related: How to Separate Yourself From the Competition

You're programmed to not just do everything, but also to do more. And to worry what others are doing.

In fact, it's easy to peek your head outside and see what other businesses in your industry are doing and compare your own efforts.. But every time you do, you discover one more thing you're not doing that someone else is.

Is your business on Snapchat? Do you host staff retreats? Does your business have a brand-rep program? Do your shipping envelopes have your logo imprinted on them? Do you exhibit at trade shows? Do you have flash sales of your product? The questions go on and on.

On one hand, it's great to draw inspiration from others and develop new ideas for your company. But on the other, it's important to understand the difference between doing more and doing well, or different.

Always feeling that you can and should be doing more with your business can be toxic. You may spread your company too thin; you may have one finger on every one of the bases, but not have the ability to prevent any of those bases from drifting off-mission.

So, instead of always feeling that you should do more, think about two different angles: doing better and doing different.

What have you already implemented at your company? What could you do better with it? For example, my company donates a headband to a child with cancer for every headband we sell. And we're continuing to do more: We recently improved our customers' donation experience by providing a donation confirmation email specifying what hospital their headbands has gone to.

We took a system that was already working with our business and made it better.

Another example is Starbucks. The coffee giant has had its rewards system in place for a while: with its system, customers' points are tallied on their gift cards.

Related: 5 Competitive Advantages Startups Have Over Big Businesses

But when the company integrated rewards with its app, that move allowed customers to reload their card, check their points and even pay for their order straight from their phone. The point system was still the same; Starbucks just designed a better way for customers to utilize it.

I recently read a book called Zag by Marty Neumeier. The idea the book presents is that when everyone else zigs, your business should zag. It's not about doing more or better, it's about doing different. The book encourages companies to find the "white space" that they can fill in, to position themselves with the intro, "Our __________ is the only __________ that ___________."

Can you fill in that blank? If not, think about what you might do "different" at your company that no one else in your industry does. Headbands of Hope is the only company that donates headbands to kids with cancer. Southwest Airlines is the only company with no assigned seats. ClassPass is the only company that allows you one membership to various gyms. Batch is the only retail company that delivers an authentic taste of select Southern cities.

You get the picture.

Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Gain a Competitive Advantage

So, instead of spending more money on advertising or signing up for another social media channel, think about what your business can do better and what you can do that's "different."

Jess Ekstrom

CEO and Founder of HeadbandsOfHope.com, Speaker and Author.

Jessica Ekstrom founded Headbands of Hope when she was a senior in college in 2012. She created the company to bring joy back to kids who have lost their hair and help fund childhood cancer research. Headbands of Hope has given tens of thousands of dollars to childhood cancer research and has donated headbands to every children's hospital in the United States.

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