If you’re old enough to remember the 1990’s and early 2000’s, you’ll probably remember Harvey Norman’s television commercials with Gerry Harvey front and centre. His ads came across with so much enthusiasm and energy that I thought they were played at a higher volume than the other ads – that’s how much he stood out with his advertising. You can check out one of his classic ads with the Harvey Norman jingle below:
Spending time with Gerry and getting a chance to pick his brain, I can tell you that he has always been about innovation in his products and being different to his competitors. That’s paid off very well for him and for his Harvey Norman brand.
In the early days of building your business, you need to be a part of your brand and a part of that business and it’s important for you to have a bit of ‘cut-through’.
So when I say ‘Stand Out’ – Jack Delosa often talks about the concept of, ‘Pick a fight.’ We’ve seen Gerry take on his competitors and fight them off for years, and more recently we’ve seen Ruslan Kogan, the founder of Kogan, picking a fight with Gerry!
I’ve never really discussed it with Gerry, but I think there’s probably a bit of a mutual admiration for one another, because I’m sure Ruslan looks at Gerry and says, “Wow – he’s done so well in business, but there’s a better way of doing it.” And I’m sure Gerry says, “Geez, this young upstart is showing us how to do it.” I don’t think you’ll get either of them admitting that but I’m sure there is a mutual respect and admiration there.
I’m sure they keep an eye on each other and you’ve gotta respect someone on Gerry’s side who has a multi-billion property portfolio, and someone who’s given so much back to the Australian economy, and how much success he has created for others. Harvey Norman is recognised for having some of the very best training programs in place for its franchisees, and some of those people have gone on to build multi-million dollar companies within Harvey Norman.
Some of the suggestions I’ve got with regard to standing out personally, and for your business:
1. Create a TV show or radio show.
People say to me, “Well that’s easy for you to do Morello, you’ve been on TV. However a number of people who have been through Scalable and Saleable have actually taken the initiative to get themselves on either community radio spots, where they talk about their expertise, so once a week they might make an appearance on either a regular radio show or a podcast – so it can be done. Even if it’s on a micro-level initially and then can be built up to a macro level later on. As they say, you’ve got to start somewhere and the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step!
We had a guy in Saleable and Scalable who got a show produced on Channel 31 – a whole series of ten episodes – which was fantastic for his business.
Alternatively you could launch a YouTube channel where you can record episodes anywhere from 5 – 30 minutes each, whereby you share your expertise on a certain topic. As you launch and build up your audience, you could even approach sponsors for your channel to bring in revenue, or you could self-fund the project. As long as you can leverage off it and have a specific outcome in mind then you only stand to benefit.
2. Write a book or an ebook.
Getting a book published by a recognised publisher is a powerful credibility indicator. People understand that as a published author, you have a certain level of knowledge and achievement in your industry, and it’s one of the best ways to raise your profile.
Ebooks are another option for publishing a book, with a lower barrier to entry. If you get your ebook designed professionally and the content is of a high standard, these can also position you as an authority in your industry. The other way to utilise ebooks is to use them as a lead magnet, so you ask people to give you their email address in exchange for a free download of your ebook. This is a win-win, as it allows you to build your database, and for your client or prospective client, it gives them an opportunity to read some valuable content and help them achieve their goals.
These ebooks don’t have to be an elaborate exercise. They can be an extended how-to guide on a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, or a 10 steps-style ebook outlining a framework for people to succeed in a given area.
3. Study a PhD
I’m conscious that most entrepreneurs probably aren’t the most academic group of people, traditionally speaking, so this one might not be for everyone, but there are a lot of benefits to studying a PhD for the right people.
As part of completing a PhD, you’ll need to write a thesis, and people will often have a version of their thesis published, as it’s often the size of a book or even larger than that, so it gives you credibility again in terms of being published either academically or otherwise.
Also, by having “Dr” at the start of your name, it obviously makes you stand out. However as I say, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to commit to this course of action.
4. Start a charity or affiliate yourself with a charity
Anyone who knows me reasonably well will know that I’m an ambassador for a number of charities, I’ve sat on charitable boards and make donations from time to time. However I often attach this activity to my business and it’s again a win-win situation.
A prime example of doing this at a local level is a lot of our Yello Brick Road branches will have a deal whereby for every transaction settled, and someone mentions a tie-in with a school or a church or a community group, the branch will donate $500 to that community group. That’s a really good way to stand out from your competitors and give back to the community at the same time.
5. Climb Mount Everest!
The last one that I always like to have a bit of a joke about at the end of my presentations is to tell people to climb Mt Everest! That always gets a giggle from people, but I can tell you right now I know people that have done just that, and if you do something amazing like climb Mt Everest or cycle from the top of Cambodia to bottom to raise money for charity, or swim the English Channel, it definitely sets you apart.
You don’t have to do earth-shattering feats to achieve results with this concept. You can do something at a local level. You could join a business group that conducts regular community events, or you could sponsor a local junior sports team.
By now you have several methods at your disposal to stand out from your competitors and also just as importantly, to set up relationships and partnerships that make you a better person and a more valuable member of your community.
Take these ideas on board and I look forward to hearing what you’ve done with them next time I see you.