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Standing Out From the Crowd

Tue, 14 January 2014

Contributed by Jamie Dunn, Director at Spark Global Education
Is it possible for an entrepreneur to stand out in a crowded business environment? We all love competition, don’t we? Well, if you don’t you better start because in the world of being an entrepreneur and a start-up, you are constantly competing whether you like it or not.
Competition comes in a variety of formats, price, quality, brand, market, etc. In my experience, I have never wanted to compete on price because I don’t believe in undervaluing what you do, or what you sell. 
Instead, I am a big fan of brands. Let’s look at it this way, why do you buy Nike t-shirts over unbranded t-shirts? Why do you buy Innocent smoothies over Tesco smoothies? Yes, there may be a little fluctuation in quality, but most of the time it is about brand. That little tick, catchy TV advert, or viral Facebook picture all enhances the brand, and with that, enhances that product’s image in your subconscious and into your buying habits, in turn meaning you will often pay more for those products. 
Sticking with brand, people and organisations go to extreme lengths to enhance their image in the public arena, but some of the best brand moves can come in the smallest ways and at the smallest costs. 
As an entrepreneur, you are often your own brand and that can be the difference between winning a contract or not. The way you dress, speak, and turn up to meetings, the places you suggest to meet, and your social media presence all make up small parts of your brand. For example, when people are late to meetings, it sets an instant bad tone; when people conduct themselves badly on social media, it gives potential clients an insight into what you are like publicly.
And finally, the way you dress. I have personally used the dress one to my advantage a lot over the years as I don’t wear suits. So when speaking at a conference or attending an event with a room full of suits, it instantly makes me stand out. 
My advice to stand out in a crowded market: get big on your brand because those 140 characters and late wake-ups could be the difference between your long-term success or failure. 

About Jamie Dunn (Director of 'Spark Global Education')

Jamie is a 22 year-old Entrepreneur that has previously been short-listed as one of the Top 20 Young People in the World 2012, a title once held by former US President, John F Kennedy. 
Jamie started in enterprise aged 12 selling unwanted items at school. By the time he was 15 he was making around £500 per week from 5 market stalls across Birmingham. At the age of 16, Jamie left school with little qualifications but won a place on the Peter Jones Pathfinder course as one of 28 from nationwide applicants, with this he moved to Buckinghamshire for 6 months. 
Aged 18, Jamie Co-founded the printing organization, Made By Young People that eventually held clients such as, Aston Villa, Ikea and Asda. Jamie successfully exited this business aged 20. Since then, Jamie has gone on to work with Governments and Educational Organizations from around the World on developing Youth Entrepreneurship eco-systems. Most notably, Jamie was an adviser to the Malaysian Government office surrounding enterprise education. During this time, Jamie also co-founded a multi-million pound investment fund, which provides mentoring, office space, finance and support to young people in the West Midlands who are setting up in business. 
Jamie now spends most of his time as a Director, Shareholder in Spark Global Education, an educational consultancy with operations globally. As an investor, Jamie has equity interests in different sectors ranging from Recruitment to Technology. Jamie also sits on, and advises many different boards and trusts including the BMET Enterprise Academy, Arrive Alive, TechMinsk and Arden Forest FC. Jamie also writes regular columns for, Shell LiveWire and various other publications and websites.

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