Imagine if you will a world with just one flower, or one colour, one car, one style of house. Boring? You bet your life.  To me it therefore follows in logical conclusion that when you’re the same, you’re invisible. It’s a fact that being different is beautiful. Yet in spite of this screaming logic many businesses just keep on following the industry norms when their whole strategy is based on vocalising their difference. Commercial, government, it doesn’t seem to matter what the profession, they just want to follow in the footsteps of others who appear successful. Result? Boring and usually a big flop.

If you doubt my word take a look at the multiplicity of car ads in any newspaper, take away the brand name and I defy you to tell me who’s ad is who. Real estate is another example and there are plenty more. Supermarkets are trying hard but are fresh out of ideas and Richard Branson appears to be the only gutsy guy to give it a real shake.

Famous for his, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over” quote, Branson has declared war on sameness and sent a message to every business. Mind your own business or, in other words forget the rest and believe in your ideas.

Ideas are not the problem, fear is. The reason supermarkets are just try- hards is that they are afraid. Taking a walk on the wild side is dangerous, because they don’t have the courage of their convictions, and sadly this sets an example for small retail business who, like sheep, follow the big boys.

The strategies should be different, but they’re not. Let’s take price for example. By their very nature supermarkets trade on price, lose leaders and price baiting, all developed to get the consumer price fixated. Such a strategy assumes that all consumers are price conscious about every product. This of course is unproven and some will be surprised to know that quality and value are greater motivators. Many people just want great quality and healthy product for their family and price doesn’t stack up when its pitted against family. It’s the ‘head and the heart’ and the heart wins, hands down.

Strategically, there is no more business which is likely to succeed than a business whose leaders are focused on being different – really different. In service – in product – in philosophy. Its a matter of being ‘YOU’ and finding a different way of communicating it.

I think back at a most brilliantly simple case study involving a touring bus company who specialised in senior travel. Knowing that seniors found things a little more difficult when it came to holidays, not only did they pick up seniors from their home but when they dropped them off at their home they left them with a shopping bag branded with the company’s name and containing a loaf of fresh bread, a pack of tea and a carton of milk. Now that’s what you call thinking about your business and minding it.

By minding your own business and leading with your chin, you develop differences and set them into action. And just to make you feel better you should know – you never fail, you just find a way which successfully did not work. You learn what you can from the exercise and you create another better, new idea. Don’t worry about the nay sayers; don’t worry about the knockers, because they are the losers who don’t have ideas or are to fearful to use them. So stop following and mind your own bloody business.