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Differentiation strategies for wealth creation: How simple questions can create a lifetime of profits (Part I)

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Differentiation strategies are all about being different. Why shout above the crowd to grab someone’s attention when all you have to do is switch on the bright green ‘Here I Am’ light bulb above your head.
The same principle applies to business. One of the keys to financial success is to provide unique value to customers in ways your competitors never thought possible. It is counter productive to continuously bang heads with competitors on common issues like pricing, especially when your offerings are similar. Not only do you waste time and other valuable resources, but you also leave the back door open for more strategic players to take a share of your pie.   
Anybody can slap up an income generating asset. Anybody can buy a mutual fund and expect an investment return. Anybody can open up a boutique store and expect some sort of revenue. But what makes you different?  
The real issue is whether you can build a unique asset that delivers a sustainable and profitable passive income stream. The way to do this is through differentiation, by incorporating something that will make your asset stick out like a sore thumb.
The business world is fiercely competitive and you have to be different to establish a profitable asset. Suppose you own a store selling match sticks. Now, I’m sure you would agree that a match stick is, well a match stick. It’s a simple tool and it’s effective. Not much you could do with it to make it any better, right? Wrong!
This is where strategic differentiation comes into the picture.
  • You could differentiate a match stick by using wood that burns longer or by making them reusable.
  • You could differentiate a match stick by being the lowest cost producer.
  • You could also be different by selling match sticks together with cigarettes or breath mints.
Most companies try and uncover new opportunities by focusing on the product or service, which may include tweaking features or changing the packaging.
That’s all good but it's only one area to uncover value, often the most difficult. Having a good understanding of your customer’s entire experience with your business, from initial contact to last good byes, can open up a whole new area of innovation
  • How do customers first make contact with your business?
  • Who is involved in your match stick business? Who are the stakeholders and how could you improve your relationships with them?
  • How could you improve the manufacturing experience?
  • How or where do you advertise your product?
  • How do customers get a hold of your matches?
  • How is your product different to your competitors?
  • How do customers pay for your match sticks?  
There are over 100 questions you could ask. And you don’t have to be a genius or have a deep sense of intuition to differentiate your wealth creation business.
Highly successful differentiation strategies are built by asking a few key questions. The first one is as follows:   
►How do you spread the message about your business or product/service?
A message that catches peoples’ attention is a great way to drive potential customers to your front door. Also, the way you spread your message can be an important source of differentiation. Basically the more opportunities you give people to find your business, the greater your footprint and bottom line.
Mainstream methods for large companies include television and radio. Both are expensive options. On the other end of the pay scale, Twitter and Facebook are exciting, new generation and free methods.
Direct marketing methods like dishing out flyers at shopping malls and traffic lights or stuffing post boxes with product pamphlets are still widely used but quickly becoming ineffective. The problem with direct marketing is that it is being overused and people are subconsciously blocking out the messages. This doesn’t mean you cannot use them. It simply means your approach has to be new and fresh.
When it comes to direct marketing, I like methods that appeal to one’s sense of curiosity. A business card with a twist is one example.
Conventional cards are mostly used to provide contact details. The idea is to go one step further. Use the card to promote your business. Instead of supplying your contact details and logo, drive people to your website by providing an effective teaser.
The reality is that potential customers will only sit up and take notice of your business if they have good reason too. A phone number or pretty logo is not good enough. Below is an example of one of my cards:
WayToWealthTM: Are you financially free? (The teaser)
Download your free Rule of Six book worth $29 (The reason for visiting my website)
Visit (Call to action)
I find that people love free stuff, so no need to be stingy with these cards. Hand them out liberally.      
How you package the business card can also make a world of difference to your sales. One option is to hand out the cards and prey people don’t give you the middle finger.
Alternatively, and here’s what I do, you could place your business card in a small envelope, stick on a postage stamp to give it a personal touch, add a teaser message on the front of the envelope to encourage people to open it, and ask your local post office to distribute. It’s different, fresh and it works!
How you spice up your message depends on your objectives, budget, market and situation. If there is one thing I’ve learnt and that is to test. Test, test and test again. Never stop testing and if need be change. It can make or break a differentiation strategy

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