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Whatever your business I’m sure you agree that something or someone has influenced or inspired you to start. No doubt you look up to a particular business and you aspire to reach where they are. No matter how big or small your business, there is always someone else doing what you are doing and the comparison syndrome can easily kick in! Quite often the easiest route to go down is to copy, but why can that be dangerous?

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“Copying keeps you one step behind your competition”

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When we were early on in business the art of creating clip art was very new to us as we were completely self taught. When you are so unsure you look to see what others are doing. Some of our first clip art sets, although different from others were not completely original ideas. We quickly realised that this is not good for our business. One thought that stood out to us early on was: If all you do is copy what others are doing then you are always one step behind your competition. Yes, copying is what we all do, we all get ideas and inspiration from others but if our products are always based on what others are doing, then we will always be a step behind them. So how can we be unique, what stands you out from the crowd?

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Identify your uniqueness 

It can take a while to feel unique and to be comfortable with it. After creating a few products ask yourself; What makes this different from others? Are my products very similar to a particular shop?
Identify the things that you like, is it the colours you use, the simplicity of the design or little details that you add to each of your products. These are the things that eventually people will start to recognise. Think of big brands out there; Coca-Cola, Apple, what words do you associate with them? Now think about your business, what words come to mind when you see your items. If there is nothing that comes to mind then ask a friend who can see your business from a fresh perspective. You are now starting to find what your strong points are. This is extremely important. This is what makes you unique. Write down all the words that you want people to associate with you. Be specific, don’t just write words like unique or special, rather think of words like bold, elegant, minimalist. Then take that title and expand it, is there a colour, shape, style that you can associate with that word?
Keep these points to the forefront of your mind every time you make a product. After you have finished creating something, look back and make sure you can identify all your key words. If you can clearly see this then others will too and you will start to stand out from the crowd.

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Keeping up with trends

This is also an important part of business. However, trends come and go and again it can be so easy to just copy what is out there already. A few years ago owls were very on trend and owl products came up everywhere! Of course it is not wrong to jump on the bandwagon, however if you were creating a trending product then make sure that your key words are still associated with your item. Does this product fit in with the other items in your shop? If it doesn’t then your identity will definitely start to become blurred and you will not be standing out from the crowd but rather blending in, you in affect become part of the trend itself.

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Why stand out from the crowd

This is also an important question to ask yourself. There are many businesses out there that are quite clearly copying others, are not very unique, yet they still do make money. Creating your own unique business however will help you to build a loyal following, your customers can expect the same quality and workmanship from you every time and when it comes down to choosing similar products people will more likely remember you. Standing out from the crowd will help you start your own trends, you wont be a step behind everyone else, instead you are creating a brand that could hopefully be around for many years to come!


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