By Hannah Whittenly

A lot of people want to be successful in business. Yet, the truth is that few really succeed at the level of Google or Apple. The reason is that they copy the mistakes of the failures around them. When the sheep scream wolf, they do too—ignoring the opportunity to be different. The wisest businesses know that the road to prosperity is not easy. It requires the courage to be different. If you’re ready to be courageous, consider doing these three things to help your business grow:

Comparative Advantage

In economics, what you do better than average is known as your comparative advantage. Your comparative advantage is what you should be selling. If you only do what everyone else is doing at a mediocre level, then you will have a mediocre business. That advantage should be displayed in the majority of your advertising campaigns.

Natural Market

This requires careful thought. Sometimes your ideal market is not right next door or easily accessible. Whatever you’re trying to sell needs to have a defined market. You can’t just create your own market and expect to succeed. For example, if your company sells a special chip that can make any computer have gaming capabilities, then you know you have a market: gamers. Yet, you can’t just start selling something that you’ve created that doesn’t have a market yet. You could, but then that’s a lot of risk. Another risk that you should be willing to take to gain your market is to do what it takes to gain financing. To do this, you may need to solicit the help of a financial service business so that you can get access to the funds you might need. By having the financial means, you’ll be able to do what you need to do to market and gain entry into your precise market.

Exploit Competition’s Weaknesses

Everyone has their weaknesses, especially companies and their products. However, it is up to you to show off your product’s strengths and where your competitor’s may be week. A great example of this would be cell phone companies. Remember Verizon’s “Can you hear me now” guy? In the commercials, he used to show how Verizon’s service could be found everywhere. However, he is now in the Sprint Commercials exposing how Sprint customers can get almost as good of quality (if not the same) as Verizon would give them at less of a cost—exposing the unaffordability that some might experience.

Another example of this would be a cosmetics company. The typical cosmetics company wants to make high profits. They charge $10 for just doing a set of nails. They get their makeup from a designer store. What would this hypothetical competitor in a makeup field be scared to do? Charge low prices and invent their own makeup from clay. If you are an innovative person and do what your competitors are afraid to do, then you’ll capture your market.

Once you have done an analysis, confront the prejudices that are keeping you from thriving. Most people are practical. They expect customers to come to them and buy their products. This selfish attitude limits growth unless you and your colleagues control the whole market. If you want to be the newcomer who grows rapidly, get out of your chair and meet your market’s demands.

The typical customer has what marketers call universal desires. If your product or service has the universals, it will be bought wildly like the iPhone was when it came out in 2007.

According to Emily Worden, the first four universals of marketing are:

  1. Survival – Maintaining life for a good period.
  2. Protection – Not suffering harm or danger.
  3. Freedom – Being able to act without a boss.
  4. Comfort – Having an enjoyable environment.

Incorporating these traits into your products and services will make people buy your stuff hungrily. The reverse is also true. If you are selling dirty, stupid, unprofitable, and painful products, it is likely you will have fewer buyers. This should be obvious, but many businesses have a selfish mentality that keeps them from swallowing the basic rules of marketing properly. The customer is always right.

Being a business person is tough work. However, with these three steps, you’ll be able to succeed and take your company to new heights.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer from Sacramento, CA. Most of the time she loves to write about business and family. She regularly interviews small business owners from around the world about their business practices, products, and services.