Thursday, September 6, 2012

Your Unique Advantage

You have a unique advantage, an edge no one else has. When you put that unique advantage to work for you -- when you take the
time to develop it as you would strengthen a muscle -- you get something that reduces perceived risk and triples your chances
for success.
That something is called Informed Confidence.
In fact, research in progress by the SBA Office of Advocacy shows that confidence is the number
one success factor when starting any new venture. But confidence alone is not enough. You need the kind of confidence you get only
by doing the footwork.
How do you turn your unique advantage into the edge called Informed Confidence? You do it by identifying your unique value
and assessing opportunities that allow you to put that unique value to use in service to your ideal customers.
Identifying Your Unique Value
Your unique value is a combination of your chosen principles and the thing you do best. Defining your principles requires you to
examine your goals. It forces you to examine your personal beliefs about money, people, reciprocity, relationships, and
Knowing what you do best takes more insight than most people realize. Yet what you do best can be easy to identify if you'll
ask yourself these questions:
  • To what sort of problems or situations am I most attracted?
  • What sort of problems or situations are most attracted to me?

One of the best ways to work out the answers to these questions is to free-write your answers. That is, sit down and let your
mind rest on each question for a moment, then starting writing about it as quickly as you can without judgment or editing. You
can also draw mind maps of the answers, or sketch an image of those answers. Use any technique that feels comfortable for you.
No matter what technique you use, you'll find that if you trust the process you'll get results -- some of which you may not have
Assessing Opportunities
Once you identify your unique value and have articulated the sorts of problems you're naturally inclined to solve, study the
problems. Become a student of them and an observer of the people who have them. Be open to where your unique value can help solve
problems -- and identify facets of the problem that may require application of unique value you yourself do *not* possess. Then
either find others who possess those unique values or develop the skills required to deliver additional value yourself.
For example, your unique value might lie in identifying market opportunities. Perhaps you're a little weak on the specification
side, however, so you might decide to partner with someone who is skilled at translating vision into clear marketing
Your Informed Confidence
Once you are able to perceive opportunities from the perspective of your unique value as seen through the eyes of your ideal
customers, you have developed a level of Informed Confidence. The more you observe and refine your understanding, the deeper that
confidence becomes.
Your unique advantage is the union of your perception of the problem and the special perspective you bring to solving it.
Bring that union into play in relationship with your customers, and you'll find that they will find their own unique advantage.