What's Your "And"?

Entrepreneurs across the globe focus on innovation and creativity in the delivery of their products and services. One way to interpret this, is that your business must always be different from others in your industry. The technology company Apple for example has become synonymous with innovation. Its entire range of products ranging from its tablets, to its phones to its computers and software are among the most competitive in the market.

Even more importantly however, innovation and creativity should define how you and your business can put a new spin on what already exists - let’s face it, you can’t always reinvent the wheel. Many of today’s most successful companies can attribute their success to copying- yes that’s right they copied other businesses. The American corporation Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton, was notorious for observing other businesses and deducing what he could incorporate from their business model into his. Walton’s company however hasn’t been such a huge success just because of his ability to observe and mimic others, this would have made Walmart exactly the same as the competition. Ultimately, Walton was also able to define Walmart’s “and”.  

Your “and” is what makes your business different from others in terms of how it defines itself relative to other businesses. In Walmart’s case, their “and” was inventory management technology. They were among the first in their industry to use inventory management software and UPC barcode scanning, enabling them to boost efficiency and cut costs to protect their bottom line (profit). Identifying your “and” is important to your success, because ultimately it determines what you need to focus your energies on. Sometimes your “and” needs to be communicated to customers (for example, Nordstrom is a high end retailer which distinguishes itself and justifies its price premium by providing its customers with exceptional customer service) and in other scenarios, as in the case of Walmart, your “and” serves to direct your internal company strategy.

So what’s your “and”? 

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