By Meera Kothand

You’re an entrepreneur. You’re working on your side-hustle aspiring to be one soon. You’re a dream chaser who thrives on freedom. But what makes you different from the thousands of other entrepreneurs launching their businesses with a laptop and an internet connection?
While the title and the aspirations behind wanting to be an entrepreneur may be the same, no two entrepreneurs are equal. How do you separate yourself from the pack? How do you become a smart entrepreneur in today’s crowded marketplace?
Here are 5 ways to be a stand out entrepreneur:

1. Don’t be the hero of your story

You’re crazy about your product or service. It may be ‘one-of-a-kind’ and get your customer from A to Z in half the time. As fabulous as it is, stop tooting your own horn. Don’t play the hero who’s waiting to swoop in to rescue your customer.

Donald Miller, Founder of Story Brand says, “Your brand is not the hero of the story, your customer is. When your brand stops playing the hero and starts playing the role of the guide in your customer’s story, you’ll see dramatic results.”

Articulate the value of your brand and products by keeping your customer or client at the center of it. Ask yourself the following questions:
Why does the customer need your product? Reflect the customer’s challenges or desires back to him. How will it work? Describe the change the product will create. Every product or service has to create a change in your customer. E.g. From scared and intimidated to confident and in control. From overwhelmed and desperate to relaxed and stress-free Entrepreneurs

What Every Wannabe Entrepreneur And Influencer Forgets – It’s Not About You
What exactly does your product or service do? Finish with the facts. This is where you bring your customer full-circle and let them know about the benefits and features of your product.
This is a simple formula you can use for your product descriptions and sales and landing pages.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

2. Be an entrepreneur who makes money in their sleep

Those were the words of Richard Branson. Because that’s the dream right? To live the laptop lifestyle. To post pictures from Krabi or Phuket. To work in your pyjamas and bunny slippers from home.
But in reality, most entrepreneurs are freelancers or one-person run companies. They think that working for themselves means being an entrepreneur. They trade time for money.
But this is a model that won’t sustain itself over the long run. If you cut down your hours, you cut down your revenue. If you have sick days, your work suffers.
Your business depends on you for its survival. There’s no denying that most entrepreneurs start off with this model. It’s a necessity when you’re still trying to find your footing.
But smart entrepreneurs don’t get stuck in the ‘time for money’ wheel of trade. They have a vision of how to break out of the cycle and make plans to scale. Their vision for their business is bigger than them.

3. Determine how much energy you have

We live in a society where asking for help is a sign of weakness and being busy and doing everything yourself is a status symbol. You’re no less of an entrepreneur by getting help. There is no shame in outsourcing elements of your business.
You don’t have to keep ‘crushing it’. Ask yourself: How much time and energy do you really have? And what do you want to do in those hours?
When you know the size of your energy basket and the size of your tasks, you find that it’s easier to choose what to do and what not to do. You become aware that saying yes to one task means saying no to something else.
Have a clear picture of tasks that grow your business and tasks that maintain your business. Once you get clear on these, determine what your major time drains are.

These are most likely business maintenance tasks like bookkeeping or website fixes. See if you can outsource these so that you have time to work on tasks that grow your business. Smart entrepreneurs are aware of their limits. They know when to step back and get help.

4. Focus on being different, not better than your competitors

Be different because you’ll never be better. Once you start to compete on ‘better’, you’ll have to add features and benefits to stay in the race. When everyone starts to compete on these, it boils down to who can offer the cheapest price.
The marketplace is flooded with similar products. Just have a look at the number of courses helping you build a profitable blog.
Start analyzing your competitors and gaps in the marketplace and try to find a way to be different. Smart entrepreneurs know how to position themselves in an already crowded marketplace.
“It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.” –Hans Hansen

5. Sell promises

Your brand is not so much what you say it is, as what your customer says it is. What story do they tell themselves by consuming your products and services?

It’s the perception of your brand in their mind that makes them listen to you or buy from you.
People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold to. And when they do buy, they buy because of the identity your brand gives them. The promise your brand offer gives.

Brand story strategist Bernadette Jiwa says “Because people don’t want to ‘do’ they want to ‘be’. They want to be less busy and more productive, less alone and more connected, less fearful and feel more safe.” Smart entrepreneurs sell promises rather than features and benefits.
Let these points guide you in your business. Align yourself with the true definition of who an entrepreneur is. Because once you do that, you’ll be unstoppable. You’ll be a stand-out entrepreneur.

What do you currently do to stand out from businesses in your industry?

Meera Kothand
Meera Kothand is a blogging and digital marketing strategist who helps solopreneurs & bloggers find focus, build authority and stand out online.